Commentary: UM study is a boon for children

This editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008.

The University of Miami Medical School and four counties in Florida are about to make history of a sort. They all will be part of the first-ever National Children's Study, which will follow children from before their mothers conceive through age 21. About 100 counties throughout the country will participate in the $3.4 billion study that will begin in 2010.

This is a boon for children in Florida. As UM's Dr. Steven Lipshultz, who is overseeing the study in Florida, told The Miami Herald, this may be a way to help lift Florida from its last-place ranking among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 13 child-health categories. This ranking is a disgrace, and it speaks volumes about Florida's priorities. The four Florida counties chosen are Miami-Dade, Hillsborough, Orange and Baker. One thousand children selected from each county will participate in the study. All aspects of the children's lives will be tracked, including the quality of the air and water where they live. The study, which was conceived during the Clinton administration, is under the auspice of the National Institutes of Health.

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