Child Health


For Immediate Release
April 28, 2008


For More Information Contact:
Ed Shelleby
(202) 662-3602


WASHINGTON, D.C. – In honor of National Minority Health Month, the Children’s Defense Fund today released facts on health inequalities among minority populations, including data regarding disparities in infant mortality, babies born at low birthweight, asthma and obesity. To reduce health disparities, CDF calls on Congress to pass the All Healthy Children Act (S. 1564/H.R. 1688), sponsored by Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), which would ensure that all children have access to comprehensive health coverage.

“National Minority Health Month is a time for us to strengthen our collective efforts to ensure all children a healthy start in life,” said CDF President Marian Wright Edelman. “These longstanding disparities in children’s health have far-reaching impacts for children’s development and ability to learn and grow. One in 4 Latino children is uninsured, compared to 1 in 8 children overall, disproportionately affecting their chances of growing up healthy. Black infants are more than twice as likely to be born at low birthweight as White babies, and children born at low birthweight are about 50 percent more likely to score below average on measures of both reading and math at age 17. By acting on behalf of all children to make health coverage a right, not a privilege, America benefits.”

Among the key statistics released are:

  • In the United States, babies born to Black mothers are more than twice as likely to die in the first year of life as White babies.
  • Nationwide, 12.7 percent of Black children were reported as having asthma, compared with 7.8 percent of Latino children and 8.0 percent of White children. Puerto Rican children reported the highest prevalence of asthma of all groups, at 19.2 percent.
  • Roughly 1 in 4 Black girls ages 6 to 17 is obese, compared with one in six White girls in this age group.

National Minority Health Month began in 2001 in response to Healthy People 2010, a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Surgeon General. This month, CDF encourages everyone to take action by participating in community service and education opportunities in your state, which can be found at:

To see CDF’s data on health disparities, visit