Bar uneven for county kids

When it comes to health and well-being, San Mateo County’s children and teens are faring better than California kids overall, but a deep disparity exists along racial and economic lines, according to a new report.

The study, which measures health, development, school achievement and family and community support, was presented to supervisors Tuesday. It is produced every two years by the county’s health department and a variety of private agencies.

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said that despite many positive findings, there are “significant pockets of children in need” on the Peninsula.

“In the U.S., health equals wealth. That’s not good public policy, but that’s the way it is,” he said.

Disparities exist along racial and economic lines as well, he said. While 6.6 percent of San Mateo County babies are born at a low birth weight, that number jumps to 14 percent among babies born to black mothers. Only 23 percent of low-income third-graders scored at or above the national 50th percentile on the California Achievement Test for reading in 2006, compared with 51 percent of kids who are not economically disadvantaged.

Also troubling were the findings that in 2005, one-third of 2- to

11-year-olds in the county had never seen a dentist, compared with 24 percent statewide. In 2004, one-fourth of the county’s fifth-, sixth- and ninth-graders were overweight, according to the report.

However, the report also highlighted many of the county’s efforts to increase access to health care for all kids. In the fall of 2006, about 3,000 county children were without health insurance, down from 17,000 uninsuredprior to the establishment of the San Mateo County Children’s Health Initiative in 2003.

More San Mateo County mothers are receiving prenatal care earlier in their pregnancies than ever before. In 2004, 89.8 percent of residents giving birth received prenatal care in their first trimester, according to the report.

tbarak@examiner.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART to vote this week on Market Street station canopy project

Shelters for station entrances expected to reduce escalator breakdowns

Thin margin in SF police union election triggers runoff

Police in San Francisco are deeply divided over who should be the… Continue reading

Deal reached to purchase home at center of Moms 4 Housing protest

Oakland Community Land Trust to buy property under agreement with investment firm

Star of 49ers win, Mostert consoled injured teammate: “We’re brothers”

Raheem Mostert, who broke his arm against the Oakland Raiders in 2018, was able to empathize with some of the pain that Coleman was experiencing

Driver fatally strikes pedestrian while fleeing police in Berkeley

A vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian on a sidewalk in Berkeley… Continue reading

Most Read