The health assessment ranked mental health disorders and infant mortality as second and third, respectively, on the list of the most pressing child health issues in the area, based on interviews with 600 parents, a dozen family physicians and hospital data from throughout Dayton Children’s 20-county service area.
Research showed mental disorders were the most common inpatient diagnosis for kids from age 1-5, and sleep-related deaths accounted for 15 percent of the 5,418 total infant deaths in the area from 2007 to 2011.
The health assessment also included recommendations for new programs and strategies to combat pediatric health issues, including: Working with local pediatricians and other health care providers to help children and their families choose healthier lifestyles, and creating a center for pediatric mental health to increase access to mental health services.
The health assessment has been a vital tool in helping health care providers identify the problems hurting kids the most, said John Slaughenhaupt, Dayton Children’s Foundation board chair.
“We began to fund this study 12 years ago because of the need for regional data regarding our children’s health,” Slaughenhaupt said. “Before Dayton Children’s began this process, organizations focusing on programs for children in the 20-county service area had to rely on national data or incomplete or anecdotal data.”