11:05am

Thu July 26, 2012
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Improved Health Noted Among Tenn. Children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — A new study finds Tennessee's kids are the healthiest in the South.

According to The Tennessean, the annual Annie E. Casey Foundation Kids Count evaluation placed Tennessee 16th in the nation in children's well-being.

Linda O’Neal directs the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. She says Tennessee kids enjoyed a significant improvement in health over the past year.

“Tennessee’s rank this year was 36. We were 39th last year. We were especially pleased to see improvements in health indicators.”

 O’Neal says this year’s study moved beyond examining children’s health to also look at education issues and child poverty.

“In the past five years there’s been a 24 percent increase in children in poverty. We’ve gone from a little over one in every five children to one in every four children in Tennessee living in poverty.”

Tennessee ranked well below New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont - the states that topped the Casey Foundation study. Nevada, New Mexico and Mississippi ranked lowest.