Study Assesses Current Well-Being of America's Children
- Saturday, April 24, 2004
A family psychologist says a new study on the well-being of children affirms that kids in broken homes have a variety of problems.
A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and the Foundation for Child Development finds that children today -- while they may be safer than they were nearly three decades ago -- are more likely to be obese, living in poverty, attempting suicide, and living in single-parent homes. One Duke sociologist, reacting to the study, says while kids are doing better, "they are not doing nearly as well as they should be given this country's advances in education, health, and social programs."
Dr. Bill Maier, Focus on the Family's vice president and psychologist-in-residence, says kids from intact married homes do better on every measure of well being, whether it is physical, emotional, or social.
"It's obvious that we live in a divorce culture, and the divorce rate in this country is just off the charts. It's a tragedy because, really, what divorce does in most cases -- there are exceptions, but in most cases, it's really putting the desires of adults above the best interests of children. And we know that divorce negatively impacts kids in all ways."
The host of Focus on the Family's Weekend Magazine radio program says the obesity problem is not surprising, and can be attributed to a couple of factors.
"One is the huge amount of time that kids are spending in front of the television, in front of the computer screen, and in front of video game terminals," Maier says.
"We know now that in the average American home the television is on 49 hours a week, which is just outrageous, especially when you consider that also in the average American home, parents spend an average of 39 minutes a week in meaningful conversation with their kids."
Maier also says many parents have succumbed to an advertising culture that is pushing fast food, snack food, and super-size portions at kids.
The psychologist contends no amount of government money can improve children's well being if parents do not change their own behavior and way of influencing their kids. And Maier says that starts primarily with a spiritual revival in this country. Interestingly, the Duke study also found decreases in the percentage of high school seniors who regularly attend religious services and who feel religion is an important aspect of life.
Duke University (http://www.duke.edu)
Foundation for Child Development (http://www.ffcd.org)
Focus on the Family (http://www.family.org)
© 2004 Agape Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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