Increase in Percentage of Children Who Are Reported to Be in Good Health or Excellent Health

Definition

There are some measures where a parent or guardian reports whether they perceive their child to be in good or excellent health (e.g., the National Survey of Children’s Health).

This indicator, measured at the child level, could be calculated as the number of infants and toddlers (ages zero to three years) whose parents report that they are in good or excellent health, divided by the total number of infants and toddlers in a state/community.

According to the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2016, 92.8% of U.S. children ages zero to five years were reported to be in very good or excellent health.1

State-level data from the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2016 on the number and percentage of U.S. children ages zero to five years old who are in very good or excellent health are available from the Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health.2

  • 1. Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health. 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query. Retrieved from www.cahmi.org.http://childhealthdata.org/browse/survey/results?q=3550&r=1&g=604
  • 2. Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health. 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query. Retrieved from www.cahmi.org.http://childhealthdata.org/browse/survey/results?q=3550&r=1&g=604

Population and sub-population estimates are not available at the community level.

  • A community may be collecting similar types of data for this indicator through a specific program or organization. It is recommended that the community first evaluate whether the data are being collected and for whom (i.e., which sub-populations), and work with those organizations to get access to aggregate-level data on the number of parents or guardians who report their children are in good or excellent health. Next, a community could work with local organizations to see how this data collection might be expanded to the larger community population.
  • If it is determined that no data on this indicator are currently being collected, the community could work with local organizations, such as health care centers or pediatricians’ offices, to consider administering a community-wide survey to parents/guardians of infants and toddlers. Survey items related to tracking data on children being in good or excellent health could be adapted from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

Research Rationale

The first few years of life involve rapid physical and mental development. Children who are in good health—including physical, mental, and emotional health—during early childhood tend to grow up not only to be healthier adults, but health in early childhood is also associated with positive educational and economic outcomes.1

Despite limitations of self-reporting or proxy (e.g., parent, guardian, doctor) reporting, surveys of child health often rely on proxy reporting because infants and toddlers are too young to self-report. Additionally, many indicators of health in young children cannot be observed in a standard medical exam (e.g., sleep behaviors) and, therefore, parental reports are used for a more holistic view.2

  • 1. Rossin-Slater, M. (2015). Promoting health in early childhood. The Future of Children, 25(1), 35-64
  • 2. National Research Council. (2011). Child and Adolescent Health and Health Care Quality: Measuring What Matters. National Academies Press.