New data released in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that the mental health of American children may be worsening.
According to the authors, common psychological phenomena in children and adolescence, such as anxiety, depression, and behavioral problems, are reportedly increasing, while physical activity and other health-promoting factors are on the decline.
The issue of declining pediatric mental health has been made evident in a CDC report which shows that more than 20 percent of American adolescents aged 12 to 19 have been diagnosed with obesity. Meanwhile, 2 in 5 students suffer from a chronic health condition. The report also states that at least 23 percent of high school students use at least one tobacco product.
The new study included the examination of surveys conducted between 2016 and 2020, with data on close to 175,000 children.
“Our research highlights a critical need to support both children and their caregivers to improve families’ mental and emotional well-being,” said one of the study’s authors in a news release.
“This includes ensuring access to timely health care services, and addressing social determinants of health to support children and families’ overall well-being.”