diseases until later in life, but the seeds may have been planted
in childhood,” she says.
Early education is another good target. Kids from families with
fewer resources often start school a step behind, setting them on a
negative path throughout their lives. Universal preschool may help
them start out on a level playing field, Adler says.
Preschool is just a start. Our entire education system
should improve, too, says Gallo. In general, people with better
educations exhibit healthier behaviors and have better access
to health care. But the United States is falling behind in the
classroom. Compared with those in other nations, graduating
U.S. students in 2011 ranked 17th for reading proficiency and
32nd for math (Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready
to Compete? 2011). “We haven’t kept pace,” Gallo says.
Changes to the health-care system could also raise the grade
on our national health report card. The U.S. health-care system
is excellent for the elderly, Adler says. The report, Shorter Lives,
Poorer Health, found that Americans have higher survival after
age 75 than their contemporaries in other wealthy countries.
The United States also has lower mortality from stroke and
cancer, illnesses that disproportionately affect the elderly. But
for younger Americans, the system is fragmented and not
particularly focused on preventive care.
“We’ve put so much of our resources into high-tech,
dramatic, end-of-life care, and less on primary care, prevention
and early life,” says Adler.
Woolf says he and his colleagues on the National Academies
panel went into the project with a goal of making
recommendations for researchers. But they came away feeling a
need to educate the general public as well. “Our sense was that
most Americans are not aware of this problem,” he says.
Gradually, though, people are getting the message. The
financial crisis and the Occupy Movement, for example,
demonstrate that “a growing minority of people is angered by
these issues,” Wilkinson says. “That’s a start, but it will take a
long time to put right.”
Ultimately, Woolf and his colleagues hope their report will
stimulate a national discussion about the state of our country’s
“A lot of the problems that are responsible for the health
disadvantage are difficult to address without some difficult
choices,” he says. “We need to make a decision about whether
we want to just accept the health disadvantage, or to make some
compromises so that our kids can live longer lives.” n
Kirsten Weir is a writer in Minneapolis.
Copyright © 2013 Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). All rights reserved. BASC™, Al ways Learning, Pearson, design for Psi, and PsychCorp are trademarks in the U. S. and/or other countries, of Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliate(s). 7739 10/13 A4G
800.627.7271 | | PearsonClinical.com
Positive behavior runs in our family.
Positive behavior can bring many benefits—among
them, improved academic success for an individual
student, fewer distractions in the classroom for the
teacher, and reduced dependence on disciplinary
and other special resources for the school.
The BASC- 2 family offers a comprehensive,
multidimensional system that helps identify and
manage emotional and behavioral strengths and
weaknesses in children and young adults. Based on
the widely-respected work of Cecil Reynolds, PhD
and Randy Kamphaus, PhD, the system offers:
• Group Screening
• Targeted Assessment
• Progress Monitoring
Behavioral & Emotional