Health habits of school-age children

J Health Care Poor Underserved. Winter 1991;2(3):374-95. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2010.0414.


While health habits such as eating breakfast, maintaining desirable weight, sleeping regularly, and wearing seat belts are related to the longevity of adults, very little is known about the health habits of disadvantaged school-age children. Using data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey (NMES), this paper examines selected health habits of children between the ages of five and 17 (n = 6,722) by sociodemographic characteristics. Descriptive analyses indicate that while the majority of these school children had good health habits, many did not. Over 17 million school-age children did not regularly wear a seat belt. More than eight million of these children did not regularly eat breakfast, while close to three million were overweight. Multivariate analyses revealed that after controlling for gender, age, race, income, residence, and the education level of the highest wage earner in the family, only income and education were significantly related to the number of good health habits.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child Welfare
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Social Class