Top 10 Threats to Kids’ Health

A new national poll conducted by the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital has ranked the ten most important threats to children’s health, as seen by a representative sample of over 2,000 adults.

Can you guess what was the #1 perceived danger to the well-being of the next generation? Yes, it was childhood obesity, cited by almost 40% of respondents as their biggest worry.

Dr. Matthew M. Davis, director of  the poll, noted the significance of the results. “The message about the dangers of obesity and the prevalence of the disease among children has really gotten through to the American public. If we’d done this poll four years ago, obesity would not have been at the top of the list,” he said.

Concerns about childhood obesity were followed by drug abuse, smoking, internet safety and stress.

Adults of different races and ethnicity ranked the top threats to children differently. Whites put obesity first, followed by drug abuse and smoking. For Hispanics drug abuse came first, obesity second and smoking third. Smoking was the main concern among blacks, followed by teen pregnancy and obesity.

16% of adults saw sexting as a top threat, but it didn’t make the final list.

Important to note: all 10 perceived major threats to kids were behavioral, rather than infectious or congenital. Here’s the list.

  1. Obesity
  2. Drug abuse
  3. Smoking
  4. Internet Safety
  5. Stress
  6. Bullying
  7. Teen pregnancy
  8. Abuse and neglect
  9. Lack of physical activity

The good news? Each of these dangers can be altered, and it’s up to us grown-ups to see that it happens. Let’s start making our kids’ health a real priority. We can make this top 10 list go away.

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Ellen and Rachel are two old friends and “expert” mamas—one a pediatrician and one a family therapist—with fifty years of parenting experience between them.


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The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.