Health Column

October 30, 1991 2 min read

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has established an Interagency Coordinating Council to ensure that all its programs that deal with children and their families work together.

The department’s decision to create the council comes on the heels of a regulation it issued this summer to keep the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant Program in the Health and Resources Administration of the Public Health Service.

Earlier this year, Secretary Louis W. Sullivan had announced that he wanted to move the block-grant program into the newly created Administration for Children and Families, which is now responsible for all of the department’s social and welfare programs that affect children and families.

Health advocates, persuaded him, however, to leave the block grant program under the administration of health officials.

The new council, which will seek to create ties between the social-welfare programs in the Administration for Children and Families and health programs, such as Medicaid, in other department agencies, will meet next month for the first time.

Panel members include the U.S. Surgeon General and other top H.H.S. officials.

A study of 10 industrialized nations that compared their primary health-care systems gave the lowest rankings to the United States and Germany.

The study, which appeared in last week’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the United States had a low ranking in all three areas covered by the report.

The three characteristics studied were: the extent of their primary health services; their levels on 12 health indicators, such as infant mortality and life-expectancy rates; and the satisfaction of their populations in relation to overall costs of the system.

The study, which was conducted by a researcher from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health, also gave West Germany low rankings. In contrast, Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands had generally high measures in all three areas.

Children who have physical education classes five days a week are in better shape than students who have classes the usual two days a week, a Ball State University researcher has found.

Arlene Ignico, a physical education professor at the school, studied 434 students in grades 15.

In her study, which was presented at the World Congress of the International Council of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in Ireland in August, students who had more physical education were stronger, faster, more flexible, and had better aerobic endurance than the other students. --E.F.

A version of this article appeared in the October 30, 1991 edition of Education Week as Health Column