* WINNERS: The world's children. The United Nations Children's Fund reported this week that among most developing nations malnutrition has been reduced, widespread immunizations are wiping out diseases such as polio, and simple diet supplements are preventing deficiencies that in the past brought death, blindness or mental retardation to millions of children. This means that for the first time the world is making good on international goals to improve life for children.

POTENTIAL LOSERS: The world's children. Because of a variety of problems ranging from higher crime rates to increased numbers of refugees and the destruction of more farmland, the gains being made on behalf of children are fragile and could quickly be wiped out.* WINNERS: Americans. Despite the outbreak of AIDS, we're living longer than ever - an average of almost 76 years. That's the report this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also notes that infant mortality is down to an all-time low of 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared with 8.9 in 1991.

* WINNER: The bald eagle. After teetering on the brink of extinction, the national symbol has made a remarkable comeback. There are now more than 4,000 nesting pairs of bald eagles in the lower 48 states, compared to only 417 pairs in 1963. This turnaround is a testimony to the efforts of Congress in adopting tough laws designed to protect the bald eagle - and to the many volunteers who rehabilitated injured and sick birds for release back into the wild.

LOSERS: Sixteen-year-olds - because they're the worst drivers in the country, crashing more often than any other age group. The reason has almost nothing to do with drinking but involves mostly driver error and speeding. Is that word to the wise sufficient?

* WINNERS: Utahns - for being the healthiest people in the country, according to a new report this week from the National Institute for Health Care Management. The situation can be expected to improve even more after January 1. That's when Utah's new clean air law goes into effect - and it's considered the toughest in the nation. The law's ban on smoking in virtually all public places should help lengthen the lives of nonsmokers who now must inhale secondhand fumes from their smoking friends and co-workers.