A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says that millions of U.S. children are not getting optimum healthcare basically because of a lack of follow-up that could prevent serious health problems.
Part of the ritual of a newborn in the hospital is screening for hearing. Only half of those that seem to have an issue get a documented audiology exam. Two to three infants per 1,000 live births are born deaf or hard of hearing . When left undetected, a hearing loss can delay a child’s speech and language development. Approximately 40% of young adults with hearing loss identified during childhood reported experiencing at least one limitation in daily functioning.
Many children don't get proper dental treatment. In 2009, less than half of children and adolescents had a dental visit in the past year, and approximately 15% of children received sealants or topical fluoride.These low levels of dental use carried through for the next ten years.
This is just a glimpse into the 11 highlighted shortfalls of lack of follow-up in children's health.
While preventive care can arrest many health issues, there's a growing tendency to wait until problems develop before addressing them, the report suggests.
Adolescents present even more worries, as they tend to engage in more hazardous activities, including the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs; unintended injuries, violence and suicide, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy.
Many of the problems that result from these activities are potentially preventable, the CDC said.
Not all bad
The report did find some good news, including the growing use of the pediatric “well-child” visit. According to the updated Child Trends DataBank, parents increasingly realize that kids don’t have to be sick or injured to benefit from a periodic check-up. As of 2013, 91% of children younger than six received a well-child visit; that’s improved from 84% in 2000.
However, the picture is not so bright for children who don't have health insurance. Only two out of three in that group had a well-child visit. Among Hispanic children, 86% had a well visit, compared with 92% among non-Hispanic white and black children.