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What We're Reading: Adolescent Depression; Smoking During Pregnancy; Health Policy Divisions


Pediatricians call for universal depression screening of teenagers; CDC reports on tobacco use during pregnancy and the wide disparity among states and ethnic groups; the divergence between red and blue states on health policy is widening.

Universal Depression Screening in Teens

Pediatricians are calling for all teenagers to be screened for depression. Only half of teens with depression are diagnosed and two-thirds don’t get the care they need, reported NPR. New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics calls for universal screening for depression—everyone age 12 and older should be screened at least once a year. Many pediatricians have already included these screenings, which can be administered through a self-reported questionnaire that teens can fill out in private.

Tobacco Use During Pregnancy

New data from the CDC has found that 7.2% of women who gave birth in 2016 smoked during their pregnancy. The prevalence of smoking also varied widely by state. The prevalence of smoking during pregnancy was under 5% in 9 states and the District of Columbia, but as high as 25.1% in West Virginia, according to the research. American Indian or Alaska Natives had the highest prevalence of smoking during pregnancy (16.7%) and Asian women had the lowest, by far (0.6%).

Politics Divide States Sharply on Health Policy

With states controlled by Republicans moving aggressively to roll back aspects of the Affordable Care Act, and Democratic-controlled states trying to bolster the health law, states are moving further apart on health policy. According to The Wall Street Journal, with healthcare options determined by which party controls the statehouse, Americans are faced with very different care options depending on where they live. While there have always been differences between red and blue states’ health policy, that divergence is now widening.

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