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Study Says Wyoming Dead Last In Child Health, Other Mountain States Not Far Behind

2018 Kids Count Data Book

A large part of our region isn't doing very well when it comes to child health. That's according to the 2018 Kids Count Data Book out today.

The non-profit Annie E Casey Foundation focuses on the well-being of American children and each year does a state-by-state analysis. When it comes to health, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado ranked in the bottom ten. Flo Gutierrez with the foundation said in Wyoming nine percent of children are without health insurance.

"That rate is more than double the national rate,"  said Gutierrez. "So expanding Medicaid is one of the ways that states can start improving the well-being of kids."

Colorado and Montana have already expanded Medicaid. But Gutierrez said child and teen death rates are high across the mountain west. That includes auto fatalities as well as suicide. Gutierrez said states can do more.

"They can also look at evidence-based programs and focus on suicide prevention and programs that improve vehicle safety," said Gutierrez.

The study also revealed a higher percentage of drug and alcohol abuse among Colorado teens.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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