Despite drops in drug, alcohol and tobacco use, lower teen birth rates and lower rates of juvenile crime, the overall well-being of young people is barely better than it was nearly 30 years ago.
And childhood obesity is a big factor, according to a report released today by a New York-based philanthropic foundation.
Researchers at Duke University found that despite progress in several key areas, a few important indicators, such as obesity and childhood poverty, have worsened.
In the meantime, the percentage of young adults with a bachelor's degree rose only marginally from 1975 to 2003.
The latest version of the annual Index of Child Well-Being uses government data from 2003 to track 28 indicators, some of which were projected to 2004.
Kenneth Land, a professor of demographic studies at Duke and the developer of the index, says more attentive parenting by baby boomers probably has helped reduce risk factors such as juvenile crime and teen drug, alcohol and tobacco use.
'I think it's a reasonable hypothesis to say (parents) have been much more attentive to child-rearing than perhaps their predecessors were,' he says.
Also, he says, young people today are more inclined to be team-oriented than their parents were and more likely to accept authority, so they're less likely to rebel by taking drugs or committing crimes.
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