Child Health Status

The general state of a child’s health, as perceived by his or her parents, is a useful measure of the child’s overall health and ability to function. This is, however, only a general measure of a child’s health, as parents may have a positive view of their child’s health even in the presence of significant health issues. Parents were asked to rate their child’s health status as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. Overall, the parents of 84.2 percent of children reported that their child’s health was excellent or very good. This proportion did not vary by the sex of the child.

Younger children are slightly more likely to be reported to be in excellent or very good health than are school-aged children or adolescents. Of children, aged 5 years and under, 85.9 percent were reported to be in excellent or very good health, compared to 83.3 percent of older children.

Children in low-income households are much more likely to have poorer reported health status than children with higher household incomes. Only 65.9 percent of children with household incomes below the Federal poverty level (FPL; $22,350 in 2011) were reported to be in excellent or very good health, compared to 81.0 percent of children with household incomes between 100 and 199 percent of the FPL. Among children with household incomes between 200 and 399 percent of the FPL, 89.4 percent were in excellent or very good health, as were 93.1 percent of children with household incomes of 400 percent of the FPL or more.

A child whose mother is herself in excellent or very good health appears to be more likely to be reported to be in excellent or very good health. Of children whose mothers were reported to be in excellent mental, emotional, and physical health, 93.6 percent were themselves reported to be in excellent or very good health; of children whose mothers’ health was poor, only 59.7 percent were in excellent or very good health.