Children today are more stressed, experience less quality family time and have worse mental and emotional health than children in past generations, according to a latest poll of nearly 2,700 adults in US.
“We have seen major advances in medicine and public health over the last century that have greatly reduced children’s illness and death,” said Matthew M Davis, professor at the University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital.
“On the other hand, conditions like childhood obesity, asthma and behaviour problems have become more common,” said Davis.
“We wanted to know how the public perceives these trends, so we conducted this latest national poll to gain insights into adults’ perceptions of children’s health today,” Davis said.
“We found that adults in the US broadly agree: children’s health today seems worse than for children over the past several decades,” he said.
Among the key results, 55 per cent of adults polled believe kids’ mental and emotional health is worse today than when they were children.
Coping and personal friendships for children were also widely viewed as worse than for children in the past.
“The dominant view from this poll is that children’s health is worse today than it was for generations past, and we need to more urgently address these challenges,” said Mark Wietecha, CEO and president of Children’s Hospital Association, which collaborated on the poll.
In addition to the perception of diminished emotional and mental health, the poll found adults perceive children as having worse physical health as well.
Forty-two per cent of adults said kids today are in worse physical health compared to their own childhoods.
The poll also found generational differences in adults’ perceptions of children’s health.
Pre-baby boomers (aged 70 and older) were most likely to perceive that children’s physical health today is better than when they were growing up.
Baby boomers (aged 51-69), generation Xers (aged 35-50) and millennials (aged 18-34) were less likely to perceive that children’s physical health is better now.
The poll of nearly 2,700 adults in US asked respondents to assess key variables for children growing up today, compared to those in prior decades.