The Guardian July 2, 2003


Health of US children gets failing grade

by H Salari

In the annual Report Card on Children's Health released by the American 
Health Foundation, the US received a "D" rating for its children's health, 
down from a "C" last year.

Here we are, not talking about the plight of hundreds of millions of 
children who are dying yearly of hunger, diseases, violence and war all 
around the world  a calamity that is directly related to the greedy acts 
of imperialism.

But we can clearly see the continuously increasing misery of the children 
of the US, the leading imperialist country.

A study prepared for Kaiser Permanente by Oakland's Children Now found that 
large numbers of young people feared for their personal safety. Small 
children fear death, violence or abuse, while teenagers report that they or 
their peers are increasingly suicidal.

A Colombia University report shows that child poverty is increasing in the 
US and one in four children live in poverty.

In Clay County, West Virginia, the majority of people are living under the 
poverty line and the majority of their children satisfy their hunger with 
free food provided by their schools, without which they would go to bed 
hungry.

The US ABC Network News reported last year that 28 percent of Hispanic 
children and 30 percent of African American children (about 12 million) 
live in absolute poverty, hungry and deprived of health care and education.

New York City had a 60 percent increase in the number of homeless people 
from 2001 to 2002. Every night, about 35,000 homeless people, of which 
15,000 are children, line up to spend the night at a shelter, with 
cockroaches, mice and fear of violence.

In many states child welfare benefits are being cut to meet budget deficits 
 Florida, New York, North Carolina and California are examples. Access to 
Medicare is denied and children are left defenceless against the simplest 
diseases. Recently, even child foster care funding has been decreased 
dramatically. And last but not least, subsidised daycare for many children 
is being cut this year.

We are witnessing a rapid increase in the misery of the people, all around 
the world, coinciding with the growing aggressiveness and greed of 
imperialism. This blind system of exploitation hits the most vulnerable  
the children  most severely. It is a trend that will continue with the 
existence of capitalism.

* * *
Peoples' Weekly World

Back to index page