Wellbeing of the nation's children

America's 70 million children--from infancy through adolescence--are off to a healthier start in many ways, according to the federal government's second annual report on wellbeing.

More children are surviving their first year of life, with infant mortality at an all-time historic low. Fewer young children and adolescents are dying, and seventy-seven percent of toddlers are up-to-date on their immunizations. But the number of children without health insurance has increased in 1996 to 10.6 million children, up from 9.8 million in 1995.

Teens, too, are encountering several problems. During the 1990s, the percentages of eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-graders who smoked daily, drank heavily, or used drugs increased. The report shows that twenty-five percent of twelfth-graders smoke on a regular basis.

Free copies of the full report can be obtained from the National Maternal and Child Health Clearinghouse, (703) 356-1964, via the Internet at http:///, or purchased for $7 through the Government Printing Office, (202) 512-1800, publication number 065-000-01162-0.

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