AFHK Survey: Children’s Health and Well-Being Fact Sheet (Sept. 2019)
The Padilla Spotlight Survey, conducted in September 2019 and commissioned by Action for Healthy Kids, surveyed 658 U.S. adults on their views regarding the state of children’s health and well-being in the U.S. today. Download the fact sheet.
Kids Face Unique Health Challenges Today
- Overall, the majority of consumers strongly agree that nutrition and physical activity are just as important for children’s mental and emotional well-being as for their physical health (67%) and that children thrive when they are supported both in body and mind (68%). The majority of consumers also agree that today, children in the U.S.:
- face more challenges than ever to their physical health and well-being (71%),
- face more challenges than ever to their mental and/or emotional health and well-being (81%),
- face many unique challenges as compared to previous generations (80%)
- These sentiments are equally shared by all parents in the survey (one-third of all respondents), regardless of the age or gender of the parent or the age of their children. However, only 35% of all consumers agree that children are more resilient than previous generations.
- There is a generational perspective supporting this lack of consensus; 45% of all consumers aged 18-34 agree with this statement, compared to only 11% of those aged 65 and older.
Parents are the Original Influencers
- Without question, parents are considered the greatest influence on a child’s physical and emotional health and have the greatest impact when it comes to addressing the myriad challenges kids face today (76%of respondents).
- The influence of peers or other children is a distant second (10%), while community members and teachers/educators/school administrators trail behind (5% and 4% respectively).
- However, while 77% of respondents agree that parents have a major impact on addressing the challenges facing the physical and emotional health and well-being of children today, 50% also agree that schools have a major impact.
- Only 3 of 10 respondents who are parents feel very confident in children’s decision to make healthy decisions – regardless of the age of their child under 18.
Top Issues Facing Kids Today
- Irrespective of having children under 18 at home (one-third of all survey respondents), adults cited bullying (44%), mental health issues (41%), and substance use and abuse (36%) as the top three major issues facing children today.
- Respondents ranked the top five issues facing youth today:
- Bullying/cyber bullying: 44%
- Mental health (stress, anxiety, depression, etc.): 41%
- Substance use and abuse (drugs, alcohol, vaping, etc.): 36%
- Social media consumption: 32%
- Screen time (TV, computer, phone, etc.): 27%
- Differences across age and gender:
- Young adults 18 to 24 are more likely to see a host of issues as more important than consumers in older cohorts, including mental health, neighborhood violence, obesity, sexual health/safety, sleep deprivation and gun safety.
- More than two to one, adults 55 and older are less likely to say mental health is a “top three” issue for kids today than those aged 54 and younger (53% versus 24%, respectively).