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Hospital Assesses Area's Pediatric Health Needs
DAYTON -- Childhood obesity, mental health an infant mortality are the top pediatric health concerns according to Friday's findings from the 2014 Community Health Needs Assessment.
Dayton Children's Hospital conducts this assessment every three years to develop new programs and strategies.
According to the findings 41% of children were identified as overweight or obese, even though the majority of their parents did not perceive their child as having weight problems. In fact, 10 percent of those parents thought their child was underweight.
"Parents don't always perceive their child as overweight or obese and part of it has to do with the norming of obesity in our culture," said Jessica Saunders of Dayton Children's Hospital. "So the biggest takeaway is we need to work to make sure people realize what is a healthy weight and then if a child is not in a healthy weight what behaviors are necessary to move that child into a healthy weight."
"That's crazy," said parent Teresa Mers. "I think it's because of processed food, food portions, lack of exercise. People just don't know how to eat healthy."
"Getting five vegetables and fruit servings every day," said Dr. James Ebert, lipid clinic medical director. "Getting an hour of exercise every day. Spending no more than two hours in front of any type of a video screen. TV or video game. And cutting out totally any sweet beverages in your diet and going back to water and unsweetened beverages. That message has been getting out but it takes time to change the culture. And the message flies in the face of the way most people live their lives."
Mental disorders are the most common inpatient discharge diagnosis for kids between 5-14 even though hospitals have inadequate resources to care for children with chronic mental health disorders. Fifteen percent of parents listed this as their top health concern. Developmental/learning disabilities and autism were the top concerns for half of nearly half of those parents.
"About two out of five children in our region have issues related to mental health something we absolutely need to address," said Saunders. "Mental health has been a trend we have been seeing and it continues to rise and this year it just shot off the charts."
They are the most common inpatient discharge diagnosis for kids between 5-14 even though hospitals have inadequate resources to care for children.
"When you look at the psychologist in the area, there's a lot for adult help, but there's really not a lot for children," said Mers.
Dayton Childrens' recently launched a Mental health resource Center and hope to use it to bringing more resources to address this problem.
41% of infant deaths from one month to one year olds are sleep related. In Montgomery County alone 17% of the infant deaths were sleep related.
"That's scary because that's just a lack of knowledge," said Mers. "You hear a lot of parents sleeping with children and that's just a lack of knowledge."
"We are really going to be focused on educating people about the safe sleep practices and not sleeping with your baby," said Saunders. "Making sure your baby has a safe place to sleep and really getting the education out about that."
Dayton Children's conducts this assessment every three years to develop new programs and strategies.
Click here to read the full study.
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