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Healthy Iowans Report Shows Progress and Challenges

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--No real progress in kids being bullied, but real progress in getting 11th graders to stay away from drugs and cigarettes.

These are just two of the immediate takeaways of a new report on Iowans overall health.

The report is 81 pages long and looks at all kinds of health related issues. Everything from motor vehicle related deaths to kids being bullied to care for HIV infected patients.

Overall, the Iowa department of public health's report says the state is about 70-percent toward reaching health goals, but there are some problem areas.

For example, the report shows the number of children being screened for behavioral and social delays is going up.

It’s something organizations like waypoint hope to change.

"It gives them opportunities to work with positive role models who just kind of give them that safe stability they sometimes need,” said Waypoint’s director of childcare services, Jen Kovach.

Waypoint provides childcare for children as young as six weeks to eleven-year-olds.

For them, many of the factors in children's health are related to that child's home environment.

"A lot of the kids that do come from troubled housing really just find it a good place to come and feel comfortable and know they can participate in activities,” Kovach said.

One factor the report stresses time and again is getting children into health screening program at an earlier age whether medical or behavioral.

Grants go to organizations like Foundation 2, which offers crises intervention.

One weakness the report found is that kids who feel bullied aren't getting the help they want; a delay due, in part, to a fragmented help system.

"I think it would be helpful if there were more opportunities for non-profits and groups that work with people to share information about what they are doing,” said development and marketing director Elizabeth Kissling.

In the end, the report is used to help determine health priorities, and funding priorities.

The information is used not just by state lawmakers, but agencies and non-profits that provide help.
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