The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 16, 2014

Child health: ‘Room for improvement’

According to statistics in annual national study

FAIRMONT — Children living in Marion County are doing better in some respects than children in other counties in the state, according to a national study released Tuesday.

“The 2013 West Virginia Kids Count Data Book,” published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, compares states and their counties to each other and to the national average of various areas of child health.

Marion ranked ninth overall in the state. Monongalia County was first and McDowell, last.

On the other hand, 37th-ranked West Virginia was almost in the bottom quarter. New Hampshire was ranked first, with New Mexico 50th.

West Virginia’s children on the whole live in worse conditions than children of many other states, the report said.

• The state and county are both higher than the national average for percentage of low birth-weight babies, 2005 and 2012. Marion County: 8.1, 9.0 (27th in state); state: 9.2, 9.3 percent; nation: 8.4 percent (2012).

• Marion County and the state are both higher in infant mortality (per 1,000 live births). Marion County: 6.8, 7.0 (27th in state); state: 7.9, 7.4; nation: 6.5.

• Marion County is lower and the state higher than the national average in child death rate (ages 1-14 per 100,000 children). Marion County: 22.9, 14.0 (15th in state); state: 24.6 and 22.3; nation: 17.7.

• Marion County and West Virginia both enjoyed a jump in percent of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K. Marion County: 36.6, 62.0 (30th); state: 39.8 and 62.4 percent. No national statistics available.

• Marion County was near the national average in percent of children approved for free and reduced-price school meals (K-12), while the state was higher. Marion County: 49.8, 50.5 (10th); state: 52.7 and 58.2; nation: 50.4.

• While Marion County and the state saw a decrease in child abuse/neglect, both were higher than the national average rate (per 1,000 children). Marion County: 22.0, 12.5 (19th); state: 22.6, 11.5; nation: 10.4.

• Marion County was slightly higher than the national average in teen birth rate (ages 15-19 per 1,000 females); the state was much higher. Marion County: 33.3, 36.3 (14th); state: 43.4, 45.3; nation: 34.5.

• Marion County and the state are higher than the nation in percent births to unmarried teens (ages 10-19). Marion County: 7.4, 8.9 (11th); state: 9.2, 10.5; nation: 8.4.

• Both the county and state have improved in percentage of high school dropouts. Marion County: 10.8, 9.0 (27th); state: 16.8, 11.3; nation: not available.

• Marion County and the state are higher in teen injury death rate than the nation. Marion County: 27.5, 50.4 (30th); state: 70.1, 50.2; nation: 42.8.

• More children in the county and state live in poverty than in the nation. Marion County: 23.7, 23.4 (10th); state: 25.5, 26.1; nation: 22.5.

• Marion County and West Virginia are lower in percent births to mothers with less than 12th-grade education. Marion County: 12.6, 12.7 (seventh); state: 18.4, 18.0; nation: 21.1.

All of these numbers mean that while life is improving for the state’s children in many ways, not all is good news.

“Parents need to understand that kids need a good start in life,” said Lloyd White, administrator, Marion County Health Department.

“Kids are much like adults. They pick up habits early in life. We need to teach them healthy habits, eating, diet, activity, that they can adopt for life.

“On the other side, if you don’t do that, those are barriers for health care for children. We need to value the same things (with children).”

For example, many adults get annual flu shots without fail.

“But they may neglect to get their children flu shots. It seems like we think kids are young and healthy and OK, but we need to teach them preventative measures that they can carry on into adulthood.

“Ninth (place) is good, but there’s certainly room for improvement,” he said.

The teen birth rate went up from 2005 to 2012, from 33 to 36 percent, and percentage of births to unmarried teens (ages 10-19) increased from 7.4 to almost 9 percent for the same time period.

The Marion County Health Department provides a family planning clinic “for all populations, not just for teens,” he said, that provides birth control education. Condoms are also available.

All services are confidential and appointments are needed by calling the health department at 304-366-3360.

“It’s critical to start teaching kids the value of making the right choices and the consequences” of making poor ones, White said.

“We have to teach them the value of life in general. Don’t engage in risky behavior.

“It all begins with education and awareness. Then we need to follow through. We need to combine effective education and awareness with other areas, to adopt a healthier lifestyle.”

He said he’s proud of the immunization rate in Marion County.

“It all goes back to stressing the importance in preventing diseases. And the school system is doing a great job in providing resources.

“It takes a collective effort to make sure we follow through. That definitely makes an impact on our lives.”

Still, there are changes he’d like to see happen, when it comes to children and health.

“I’d like to see some of the changes we do for adults. We preach obesity and physical activity, but we take this for granted in children.

“We assume they can eat what they want and there will be no negative impact, but we see so any overweight and obese children.

“We need to treat children like we do adults ... take care of your body with proper diet and exercise, and that will go a long way to a healthier lifestyle for children.”

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • $5,000 allocated to Korean War Veterans Memorial

    The Korean War Veterans Memorial in Marion County is closer to completion thanks to an allocation from the county commission.

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairmont man arrested on heroin charges

    A Fairmont man has been arrested on heroin charges.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ronald Mersky-EG.JPG Landfill safety taught at workshop

     Educators from around the state started a three-day workshop to learn more about recycling.
    The Marion County Recycling and Litter Control, and Project ALERT partnered with West Virginia University and NASA IV & V Facility to host “Marion County, West Virginia, Earth and Beyond” workshop.
    On Tuesday, educators learned more about recycling solid waste material properly.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • FirstEnergy ending retiree health care subsidies Dec. 31

    he end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.
    As of Jan. 1, 2015, FirstEnergy will no longer provide subsidized health care for retirees. Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power, which is one of the utility companies under FirstEnergy, said this was a complex decision.
    “It’s a difficult thing, I know, but health care costs have skyrocketed in this country and many companies have had to unfortunately trim back on health care,” he said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alecto plans changes for FGH

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need (CON) by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.
    In West Virginia, a CON is required of all health care providers before they add or expand health care services, exceed the capital expenditure threshold of $3,048,803, obtain medical equipment that is valued at $3,048,803 or developing or acquiring

    July 30, 2014

  • City wooding door -ts.jpg City needs ‘room to grow’

     Fairmont city officials and staff boarded a city bus Tuesday to take tours of three potential sites for a new Municipal Building Complex.
    One of the sites was the Huntington Bank on Adams Street downtown, followed by the City Center building (also known as the old Post Office) and the Masonic Temple on Jefferson Street. While the Huntington Bank building currently houses both Huntington Bank and additional tenants, the City Center building and the Masonic Temple are both currently vacant. The city currently owns the Masonic Temple; if chosen, the other two properties would need to be purchased from their present owners.

    July 30, 2014 9 Photos

  • Fairmont man sentenced for sexual assault, burglaries

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.
    Matthew Allen Martin, 26, of Fairmont, entered a plea agreement with the state Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and two counts of burglary.

    July 30, 2014

  • FGH sales proceedings move forward

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.

    July 29, 2014

  • End near for FirstEnergy subsidies for retirees

    The end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.

    July 29, 2014

  • Chamber hosts adult education event

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce helped local adults find new opportunities through its Beyond the Backyard adult education event Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads