by Rochelle Davis, HSC Executive Director
Earlier this month, I wrote with the hope that the 2007 Cook County budget would maintain funding for school-based health clinics, which are important places for educating students about healthy lifestyles and managing chronic conditions.
Unfortunately, the budget approved by the Cook County Board last week eliminates six school-based clinics and four neighborhood clinics, while also slashing funding for two additional school-based clinics.
"A lot of time students come in and they're in dire need of an asthma pump to help ease the pain. Having these cutbacks will downgrade our health centers," Jeffrey Riley, a student patient, told CBS2 Chicago.
A recent community-level study from Sinai Health System shows dramatically higher rates of childhood obesity and asthma in Latino and African-American communities. In Humboldt Park, for example, approximately 28 percent of children experience asthma and 62 percent of children are overweight or obese. In West Town, approximately 73 percent of children are overweight or obese. This compares with a national average of 17 percent.
It is a real tragedy that the Cook County Board failed to prioritize children's health.