What is health equity?
Health equity is the goal of ensuring that all people are given the opportunity to attain their highest level of health. Because early childhood experiences provide the foundation for health as an adult, health equity in early childhood is particularly important to address. Innovative and concrete steps that actively promote optimal health and development for young families, improve access to essential health care and social resources for babies, and reduce toxic stress for families can make a meaningful difference.
What do we know about children’s health disparities in New York State?
While there has been progress on some children’s health issues in recent years, the gains have not been shared equally across New York’s families. Data on how well our system works to give each child a healthy start in life show that communities of concentrated poverty and, in particular, communities of color often fare worse on health and developmental outcomes. These disparities are caused by factors like barriers to accessing health care and early education, racism and discrimination, inadequate maternal health care, poor nutrition, substandard housing quality and housing instability, and community violence. These gaps hamper our ability to reach the highest potential for all New York children. Although good data on child health disparities are often lacking, below is a snapshot of four commonly cited statistics on children’s health disparities in New York.