Report Analyzes Effects of Environment on Young Children

With Indiana’s mixture of rural and urban lifestyles, a wide range of environmental hazards exist for children in their constructive years. The Sunny Start program at the Indiana State Department of Health recently released the State of the Young Hoosier Child Environmental Health Report for 2012, which notes these hazards and gives solutions for parents, community leaders, and legislators.

This it the second report on the health of young Hoosiers provided by Sunny Start, with last year’s report focusing on physical health and well-being, social emotional development, school readiness, and family support. Both reports focus on children’s most vulnerable formative years – birth through age five.

State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin says the two reports provide much-needed data about Hoosier kids and how their lives and environments can be improved. Key findings of the report noted that the leading causes of death for young children are suffocation, fires, drowning, and car accidents. It also points out that the percentage of youth to age 17 who have been diagnosed with asthma has increased since 2007, and is the third-leading cause of hospitalization for this age group.

Sunny Start: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds is a comprehensive effort to coordinate support systems and resources for children birth to age five and their families. It is funded by a Maternal and Child Health Bureau Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

For more information about the Sunny Start: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds data report, visit Visit the Indiana State Department of Health’s website at