Good, Bad & Ugly Health Trends for Metroplex Kids

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DALLAS - When it comes to kids in North Texas, there's good news!  And some really bad news, too...

Yeah... Children's Health released their 14th annual Beyond ABC study Tuesday, on how well kids in 6 Metroplex counties are doing.

Turns out, fewer kids are getting pregnant, spreading STDs, going uninsured, and going to juvie...

But there are plenty of problems, too.  Almost half the kids in Dallas County public schools are overweight or obese.  Almost 30% live in poverty, and third grade test scores are down in all 6 of the counties in the study.

"Having a source like this, we can stop arguing about the numbers, and start debating about the policies," said Dr. Timothy M. Bray, who led the Beyond ABC research team.

He's right - knowing is only half the battle.  That's why a panel of other members of that team also took time to outline some of the efforts Children's Health is making to better the lives of kids.

"Some of you may know about our backpack program called Food 4 Kids," said Colleen Townsley Brinkmann from the North Texas Food Bank. "It serves about 11,000 children every Friday."

Dr. Anu N. Partap is in charge of the new Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children's Health, and she says the center, "is meant to be that voice for the healthcare needs of children in foster care."

Folks from the community say just having the study's research out there makes a big difference.

Dana Riley is the executive director of Volunteer McKinney.  "It gives us clear and concise data on exactly what's happening," she said of Beyond ABC. "We use that data to drive the services that are offered in our community."

"It's just a good environment, to know that there are people who genuinely care," said Diana White, from the Skillful Living Center. "When it comes to our children, if we don't care about them, then really what is our purpose?"

Yep - children are the future, y'all.  What better purpose is there?