Children's Health (cont.)

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Community health & children

Community health goes beyond the family to the community as important to the health and well-being of children. Children need a healthy and safe environment in which to grow up.

There is a big difference between living on a farm, in a small town, in the suburbs, or in an inner city. A neighborhood with prostitutes, drug dealers, and drive-by shootings is an unhealthy community in which to raise children. Not to mention the need for children to grow up in a healthy environment that provides clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

Other community links that can influence the health of children include schools, sports programs, and learning resources such as libraries. To paraphrase the phrase "It takes a village to raise a child," it might be said that "It takes the community to raise a healthy child."

Health care for children

It is important to emphasize that children are not simply small adults and nor should they be treated as such. Child health care and the specialty of pediatrics are concerned with providing optimal and appropriate care to all children; and, in fact, pediatrics has expanded to include not only young children but young adults as well, since a large portion of our 18-21-year-olds continue to be dependent on their parents into their 20s.

Getting appropriate, high-quality health care for a child is not always easy. Existing programs for child health are not available to all families that need them. There are serious gaps between those children in need of health care and the ability of many parents to afford it. Too many children fall between the cracks, not only in the U.S., but worldwide.

Previous contributing author: Barbara K. Hecht, PhD

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. <http://www.aapd.org>.

American Academy of Pediatrics. <http://www.aap.org>.

HealthyChildren.org. <http://www.healthychildren.org>.


Last Editorial Review: 2/29/2012



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