Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 104 Part 6.djvu/1014

This page needs to be proofread.

104 STAT. 5404 PROCLAMATION 6190—SEPT. 28, 1990 of Child Health Day—an annual event in the United States since 1928—underscores our national commitment to build a better future for America's children. Since the inception of Child Health Day in the first half of this century, we have not only worked to bring basic health care services to greater numbers of poor and underserved children but also focused increased attention on the prevention of childhood diseases and accidents. In recent years, we have also established more specialized services for children with particular health care needs, such as birth defects and chronic illnesses. As we celebrate the advances we have made in promoting child health in the United States, we also do well to reflect on the work that remains to be done. During this observance of Child Health Day, we devote special attention to the unique problems and needs of adolescents. Adolescence is an important, and sometimes difficult, time of transition. In addition to experiencing many physical and emotional changes, teenagers must cope with new peer pressures, increasing responsibilities, and the desire for greater independence. Most young Americans weather successfully the ups and downs of adolescence. Tragically, however, the future of far too many of our teens is being threatened by experimentation with drugs and alcohol, promiscuity, violence, and crime. As individuals, families, and as a Nation, we must continue working to overcome the factors that can lead to physical and emotional health problems among adolescents—factors such as illiteracy, poverty, neglect, moral confusion, and the breakdown of family life. We can help America's teens to lead safer, healthier lives by teaching them— through word, deed, and example—the importance of sound nutrition and regular exercise and the dangers of such activities as smoking and drinking. We can also reduce the incidence of teen pregnancy—and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases—by helping our children to develop strong values, greater self-esteem, and the skills needed to overcome negative peer pressure. As a Nation, we must also rediscover the values of faithfulness, commitment, and self-sacrifice as they apply to marriage and family life. While the government must not, and, indeed, cannot, assume the primary responsibility of parents in caring for their children, it can join health care providers and other private organizations in helping to promote the well-being of our Nation's teens. This year, as we observe Child Health Day, let us redouble our efforts to build a constructive partnership among parents, health care professionals, members of the clergy, educators, and public officials at all levels of government. What we do to promote the health and well-being of young Americans is an investment in their future and in the future of our entire country. The Congress, by Joint Resolution approved May 18, 1928, as amended (36 U.S.C. 143), has called for the designation of the first Monday in October as "Child Health Day" and has authorized and requested the President to issue annually a proclamation in observance of this occasion.