A new index finds that minority children are more likely to live in neighborhoods less conducive to healthy development
Dolores Acevedo-Garcia of Brandeis University and coauthors developed a surveillance system, coined the “Child Opportunity Index,” to gauge neighborhood-based opportunities conducive to healthy development. Researchers scored neighborhoods using nineteen indicators-ranging from the presence of quality early-childhood education, to poverty, to proximity to parks and healthy food.
They found that, across the one hundred largest metropolitan areas, 40 percent of black children and 32 percent of Hispanic children reside in the lowest opportunity neighborhoods within their metropolitan areas, compared with 9 percent of white children and 12 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander children. Black and Hispanic children are even more concentrated in very low-opportunity neighborhoods in areas with higher levels of racial segregation. The authors say that the index could inform collaborations between the health care sector and community development programs that seek improved child health equity. Index maps for the one hundred metropolitan areas are available at diversitydatakids.org.
Research: The Child Opportunity Index: Improving Collaboration Between Community Development And Public Health, Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Nancy McArdle, Erin F. Hardy, Unda Ioana Crisan, Bethany Romano, David Norris, Mikyung Baek and Jason Reece, Health Affairs, doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2014.0679, published November 2014.
Source: Health Affairs