National Child Health Day is on the first Monday of every October where we show our support of children’s health, family, and those that work hard to help them. Family income is a major factor in the health of children both physically and mentally. Children from households below the poverty line have a higher obesity rate than those above it, and with the epidemic not slowing down, it’s clear that there’s more that we need to do.
History of National Child Health Day
There weren’t any facilities dedicated to the treatment of children until the mid-nineteenth-century. They were treated at home and if that wasn’t an option for families, children went to municipal almshouses just like their parents did. The understanding of children’s health wasn’t defined back then and oftentimes abandoned and orphaned babies were left in infant asylums.
By the 1860s, the problem worsened until hospitals that specialized in the care of children were developed to address the issue. There was a stigma surrounding the sick and the poor and not enough was being done to stem the tide. The early children hospitals would admit these sick and abandoned children and offer food, clothing, and more to better their health. The philosophy of these hospitals was that even if their parents made bad decisions, it wasn’t the fault of the children.
In the late nineteenth century, the effects of these children’s hospitals became clear throughout the nation. The number of children admitted for social welfare fell over time and children who suffered from chronic medical conditions or required surgery rose. More children were being properly looked after and that meant that more comprehensive analyses were being made to better their healthcare.
National Child Health Day became a day of observance in 1928 when President Calvin Coolidge issued a proclamation for the day and Congress enacted it. In the beginning, National Child Health Day was observed on May 1, and in 1960 it was changed to the first Monday in October. Ever since then, American presidents have issued proclamations that day in hopes of rallying the country to support children’s health.