A national poll on children’s health by University of Michigan’s CS Mott Children’s Hospital found that (both nationally and locally) adults’ top concerns are child obesity, smoking and tobacco use, drugs, and school bullying. 

In the poll’s annual top 10 list, a nationwide sample of adults were asked to identify the biggest health concerns for kids in their communities, as well as kids nationwide. Overall, childhood obesity is rated at the top of both lists: 29% of adults said obesity is a “big problem” for children in their local communities and 55% said it is “big problem” across the country.

Smoking and tobacco use were a close second on the local list, with 26% of respondents identifying it as a problem in their community. Nationally, smoking was seen as a concern by nearly half of all adults (47%), but greater concerns over issues such as obesity, bullying and drug abuse moved it to No.4 on the list.

The top 10 rankings for 2014 are:

Local Community

  • Childhood obesity-29 %
  • Smoking and tobacco use-26%
  • Drug Abuse-26%
  • Bullying-23 %
  • Stress-22%
  • Alcohol abuse-19%
  • Internet safety-18%
  • Child abuse and neglect-18%
  • Teen pregnancy-16%
  • Not enough physical activity options-15%

Across the US

  • Childhood obesity-55%
  • Bullying-52%
  • Drug Abuse-49%
  • Smoking and tobacco use-47%
  • School violence-44%
  • Child abuse and neglect-42%
  • Alcohol abuse-41%
  • Internet safety-40%
  • Gun-related injuries-39%
  • Teen pregnancy-37%

“Obesity remains a top child health problem overall, which has been a persistent concern in our annual top 10 polls along with others like bullying, smoking and drug abuse,” said Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, director of the CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

The poll shows a strong link between many of the top 10 child health concerns to health behaviors of children and their families, said Davis, also a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. These concerns indicate that the public understands the powerful role of behavior in health — in terms of short-term impact and long-term consequences.

The full report is available here.