An increasing number of children in the county are overweight, according to the 14th annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County.
The report, filled with statistics on the health, economic status, safety and education of Orange County’s children, will be discussed Thursday, Nov. 6, at the 7th annual Community Forum. The 8-11 a.m. program will be held in the Titan Student Union.
Educators, community leaders, representatives of human service groups and law enforcement agencies, as well as probation officers are expected to participate in the forum.
Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Community Collaboration and the Orangewood Children’s Foundation produced the report with sponsorship from the County of Orange and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County.
The report is used by agencies throughout the county to help determine what can be done to improve children’s lives. Michelle Berelowitz, director of the Center for Community Collaboration, said community agencies use the report as a gauge to benchmark progress.
The purpose of the forum is to raise awareness about the condition of the county’s children and to encourage discussions of ways to improve the situation.
This year’s report finds that “children continue to gain weight and have trouble meeting the minimum requirement for fitness standards,” Berelowitz said. It also contains data on other conditions that need improvement, she added, including:
The report includes a special section on substance-exposed babies, expanding on a study conducted in 2007 by the Orange County Health Care Agency. About 2,600 pregnant women anonymously participated in the survey that revealed:
The study concludes with a recommendation that Orange County agencies work with high schools and colleges, hospitals and medical workers to continue family resource programs, improve data collection and client monitoring, and create policy statements, Berelowitz said.
“These findings and recommendations will be key to improving birth outcomes and the lives of children in Orange County,” she added.
The report also reveals conditions that have improved during the past year. Among them:
Berelowitz will provide an overview of the report at the forum. The keynote address, “Substance-Exposed Babies: 6,800 and Counting — How Should We Respond?” will be delivered by Nancy K. Young, executive director, and Sidney L. Gardner, president, of Children and Family Futures.
Additional information is available from the Center for Community Collaboration at 657-278-5681. To register to attend the free forum, go to www.factoc.org/calendar /html.