Kentucky parents’ overall perception of Kentucky children’s health doesn’t match the statistics, foundation survey finds

Many Kentucky parents’ perception of their children’s health doesn’t match statistics, suggesting that many health problems are going undetected or untreated.

That is the upshot of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky‘s first Kentucky Parent Survey, conducted by the University of Virginia‘s Center for Survey Research this summer and released today.

Only 4 percent of Kentucky parents said a health professional had told them their child was obese, but the National Survey of Children’s Health in 2007 found that almost 37 percent of Kentucky children were obese.

Just 5 percent of Kentucky parents said they had been told that their child had depression or anxiety, but about 25 percent of children 13 to 18 will have struggled with anxiety and 11 percent will have battled depression, according to a 2010 national study. And a recent study found that Kentucky teens were more likely than the national average to have attempted suicide.

About 17 percent of Kentucky parents reported that their child had decayed teeth or cavities, but a national survey of third graders in 2001-02 revealed that 35 percent had untreated dental issues.

Only 3 percent of parents said their child was diagnosed with a hearing problem, but 15 percent of children nationally have measurable hearing loss. And 14 percent reported being told their child had a vision problem, but about one in four preschoolers nationally have vision issues.

Parents also seem not to get enough advice from health care providers about how to treat their children’s health issues, even though there are high rates of children suffering from tooth decay, vision problems, asthma, ADHD, depression/anxiety, obesity, hearing impairment and diabetes, the survey found.

While 92 percent of parents said their child had a regular doctor, just 80 percent said their child had a regular dental care provider. And a 74 percent majority of parents surveyed said they were always encouraged by their child’s healthcare provider to ask questions during visits. “The exceptions are worth noting,” said Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the foundation. “If three in four parents said their child’s provider always encouraged questions, this means that one in four were not always encouraged to ask questions.” (Read more)

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