A new study shows the general health status of children in Mississippi and Alabama did not meet a national benchmark.
Over half of Mississippi's children age 17 or younger live in poor or near-poor households, 31 percent live in middle income and 15 percent live in higher income households. About one-third live in households where no one has an education beyond high school.
The study, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that in infant mortality Mississippi ranks 45 nationally and in children's general health, Mississippi ranks 45.
The study also shows children in poor families are 3.5 times as likely to be in what the study calls "less than optimal health" as those in higher income families.
The study shows Alabama has one of the largest gaps of any state between the health of its poor and those with higher incomes. Alabama ranked 48th in the size of the gap in children's general health based on family income.
The study found that 16.9 percent of the state's children in lower-income families were in poor health. But only 5.4 percent of children in higher-income families were reported in poor health.