Supporting Children's Health

Wealth disparities contribute to health disparities for children born in families on the lower end of the income spectrum. Carson Tahoe Health is working to bridge those divides. 

One in five children in Nevada lives in poverty, according to a 2019 report by the Guinn Center and Brookings Mountain West, two Nevada-based policy organizations. But this is not a new problem. After the 2007–09 Great Recession, there was growing income inequality between the top 10 percent of earners and the remaining 90 percent, according to the same report. These facts can have long-lasting consequences for children’s health.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, poverty can affect children by:

  • Affecting the way children perform in school, which can impact job opportunities later in life
  • Exposing children to toxic stress
  • Harming relationships with peers
  • Increasing children’s risk for chronic illnesses, injuries, and poor nutrition

When parents worry about money, their children may experience a trickle-down effect. A 2021 study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found that financial concerns can lead parents to speak to their children less, which means young children in low-income households hear millions of fewer words than children in higher-earning households.

PARTNERS FOR GOOD

In Northern Nevada, a variety of income-related health disparities affects children, from lack of access to highquality food to air filtration systems to cope with wildfire air pollution.

“Fresh, nutritious foods are often more expensive and sometimes not available for purchase in every neighborhood,” says Amy Hyne- Sutherland, PhD, Director of Mission Integration at Carson Tahoe. “Access to healthy activities, such as youth sports, can be limited to those with the ability to pay or easy access to transportation. When we have worked to lift people out of poverty, we have seen a cascade of positive impacts, including improved health outcomes.”

Carson Tahoe works with a variety of community partners to address children’s health disparities and encourage healthy lifestyles. The health system’s efforts include:

  • Funding the AYSO Carson City Region 140 youth soccer scholarship program
  • Funding the playground for the Dayton Clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mason Valley
  • Supporting local nonprofit Food for Thought in providing nutritious food to hungry children

In partnership with the Healthy Communities Coalition, Carson Tahoe is also hiring two community health workers to better coordinate with and support underserved populations.

To learn more about how Carson Tahoe serves Northern Nevada, visit www.carsontahoe.com/community-benefits.