Earlier this year, staff from Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base and Children’s Futures partnered to develop a survey assessing the health and well-being of children residing in Mercer County, New Jersey. This telephone survey was conducted in 1,001 households about a selected child 0-17 years of age. Information was collected about a variety of child health and well-being indicators such as health status and chronic health conditions; usual source of care and utilization of care; child care and after-school activities; positive social skills; neighborhood amenities and support; and community safety and school safety. The following article presents selected key highlights from this survey.
Health Status and Access to Care
In Mercer County, the overwhelming majority of children are in excellent, very good, or good health, have health insurance coverage, and have a regular source of healthcare. However, nearly one-fifth of children in the area have ever been diagnosed with asthma and more than one-quarter have visited the emergency room within the past year. Disparities by geographic region, race/ethnicity, and poverty status exist for many of these health and access indicators.
In Mercer County, approximately 5% of children 0-17 years are in fair or poor health, representing about 3,900 children in the county. More specifically:
In Mercer County, approximately 16,000 children 0-17 years (18.5%) have a history of asthma. More specifically:
In Mercer County, approximately 1,600 children 0-17 years (1.9%) do not have any public or private health insurance coverage, and more than 5,600 children of the same age group (6.6%) do not have a regular source of healthcare. More specifically:
More than one-quarter of children 0-17 years residing in Mercer County (27.2%) visited the emergency room at least once in the past year, representing approximately 23,100 children in the county. The primary reason why children visited an emergency room was because the problem happened “after hours” such as the doctor’s office or clinic was closed or it was the weekend or a holiday (40.0%). The second most common reason for an emergency room visit was the problem was too serious for a doctor’s office or clinic (19.6%). More specifically:
One’s neighborhood provides both a physical and social context for child and adolescent development. In Mercer County, 13.2% of children 0-17 years live in neighborhoods without parks or playgrounds and 29.1% of children of the same age group live in neighborhoods without recreation or community centers. More specifically:
In Mercer County, 12.2% of children live in communities where neighbors do not watch out for each other’s children, and 10.6% of children live in communities where adults do not trust one another to help their child. More specifically:
Perceptions of Community and School Safety
In Mercer County, 5.5% of children 0-17 years are perceived to be either rarely or never safe in their community, representing more than 4,700 children in the county. More specifically:
Findings from the Mercer County Child Health Survey suggest both positive trends as well as challenges for area providers in understanding children’s needs. The overwhelming majority of children living in Mercer County are in excellent, very good, or good health, have health insurance, and have a regular source of care. However, findings from the survey also reveal nearly one in five children has a history of asthma and more than one-quarter of children have visited the emergency room at least once within the past year. Also, less than two-thirds of children live in communities with available recreation or community centers. Many of these survey findings reveal disparities for certain segments of the population or geographic regions of Mercer County. Due to the regionally-specific data collected from the Mercer County Child Health Survey, these findings can be used in a variety of ways such as identifying children’s health and well-being needs; developing tailored programs and services to meet the needs of children and the community; and providing baseline information to monitor future progress towards goals.
For more information about these findings, please contact Nicole Dreisbach at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For other findings from the CHDB, please visit our Data Findings section at: http://www.chdbdata.org/datafindings.asp.
Note: The Trenton area includes the following zip codes: 08608, 08609, 08610, 08611, 08618, 08629, and 08638.
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