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FOR RELEASE: November 8 , 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Annual State of the State’s Health Report Released Today:
Our Children, Our Youth, Our Future

The Oklahoma State Board of Health released its 11th annual State of the State’s Health Report today. This year’s report, “Our Children, Our Youth, Our Future” focuses on the health status of Oklahoma’s children and youth.

Children are significantly influenced by poor health habits established early in life, the report states. “Obese children become obese adults. These adults eventually suffer the consequences with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Youth and teens who use tobacco products usually remain addicted to nicotine as they enter their adult years and develop the all-too-common outcomes of cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. These adverse health outcomes are preventable, and the price paid by our citizens is far greater than the monetary costs we measure.”

The report reviews Oklahoma’s infant and child mortality rates, immunization rates, oral health issues, teen birth rates, high-risk health behaviors, and unintended injuries. It also looks at factors that determine poor health status for Oklahoma’s children and youth, including adverse childhood experiences, child abuse and neglect, poverty, health insurance coverage, and effective prevention measures.

Effective prevention measures are the key to transforming our health care system, the report emphasized, noting “…ours is a culture that seems more willing to pay for health problems after they occur than preventing them in the first place.”

The report offers several strategic recommendations to improve the health status of Oklahoma’s children including the following:

  • Effective sex education for our youth.
  • Paid maternity leave for working mothers.
  • Effective support programs for vulnerable parents.
  • Health care available for all children.
  • Enhanced graduation rates from high school and college.
  • Reimbursement by third party payers for cost effective prevention measures.
  • Requirements for helmet use by youth when riding bicycles, motorcycles and all terrain vehicles.
  • Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Enhance programs to reduce obesity.

For the fourth year, the report includes a “Report Card on Health,” which charts Oklahoma’s current health status on a variety of health issues and highlights challenges that remain for improvement.

The 2007 State of the State’s Health Report, along with previous years’ reports, can be found on the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at: www.health.ok.gov/board/state.

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