HRSA Study Sets Baseline for Health Outcomes and Behaviors in the Middle Childhood Population

A paper published in Pediatrics by researchers in HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau provides a broad new profile of health outcomes and behaviors in the middle childhood population. Middle childhood refers to ages 6 through 11. Using data from the combined 2016 and 2017 National Survey of Children’s Health, the researchers examined sociodemographic, health status, family, and neighborhood characteristics of 21,539 U.S. children in this age range.

Overall, most children were in excellent or very good physical health, and over 20 percent were considered to have special health care needs. Researchers found the prevalence of diagnosed anxiety problems increased as children got older. Also, as children age, the proportion of children obtaining the recommended amount of sleep per night decreased while the amount of reported screen time with television or devices among children increased. Finally, less than one-third of children engaged in the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, with even fewer females participating in daily physical activity as they got older. These findings suggest opportunities for targeted interventions and public health strategies at earlier ages.

View the video and text abstracts in Pediatrics.