5-speed listening (Level 6)

Children in US safest for two decades



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A report from Duke University in the USA says American children are safer today than at any time in the past 20 years. The study is based on the annual Child Well-Being Index, which has been compiled by Duke since 1975. It measures and tracks 28 aspects about the quality of life among children across America. Perhaps the most promising figure in the report is that child death rates have gone down by a third since 1975. In addition, suicide rates among teens have declined in the past 20 years. Fewer youngsters are victims of violent crimes today than 20 years ago and teen births are at their lowest level in decades. The report says US kids are also better educated than they were 20 years ago.

The report highlighted a few of the negatives of the past 20 years. In spite of fewer children dying and infant mortality rates decreasing, child health has deteriorated. A major contributory factor to this is the increasing levels of obesity because of poor diet, the abundance of fast food, and less exercise. The latter is due to teens spending much longer indoors using technology. The report suggests that technology may protect kids from physical dangers outdoors but can harm their health indoors. Child poverty still affects millions of children in the USA and has remained largely unchanged in the past 20 years. About 20 per cent of children lived below the poverty line in 2013, which is about the same as it was in 1995.

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