County data paint specific pictures of health; Ashland paper is one of first to pick up on it and do a story

More progress is needed to make sure children from low-income families are going to the dentist is just one of the findings of the 2011 Kentucky Kids Count County Data, released by Kentucky Youth Advocates.

The data paint a detailed portrait of each county’s health for Kentucky’s children, showing results of prenatal care, the percentage of mothers smoking during pregnancy, rates of preterm birth and low birthweight, breastfeeding, the number of children enrolled in Kentucky Children’s Health Insurance Program and Medicaid, early-childhood obesity rates, asthma hospitalizations, and access to recreational facilities.
Statewide, the numbers show nearly one of every four children lived in poverty between 2005 and 2009, a 10 percent increase from 2000. The rates of preterm births and low-birthweight babies also increased. Overall, however, the numbers show improvement, particularly when it comes to children being covered by state or federal insurance. The number of children enrolled in KCHIP increased by 45 percent and in Medicaid more than 50 percent.
That data is supported by a reported released Tuesday by Georgetown University, which found the number of children without health insurance has dropped by 1 million nationwide in the past three years, Kelli Kennedy of The Associated Press reports. (Read more)
For an example of how to localize the data, click here. Mike James of The Independent in Ashland used it to assess the health status of children in Greenup, Carter and Boyd counties. He also spoke to a local school district and found officials will use the findings to bolster “requests for competitive grants that fund … programs and … identify gaps in services,” he reports.
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