News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Poor child health trends reversible

Mon 26 Nov 2007

Poor child health trends reversible, say advocates

Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has urged all political parties to take heed of the Paediatric Society’s latest report into childhood diseases. The trends are alarming, but the report shows they have easily identifiable causes and can be fixed with the right policies.

The report paints a picture of entrenched poverty in New Zealand today, showing in the costs for children in illness and ongoing disadvantage.

The report clearly shows how poverty impacts on children’s health, with children in low-income households far more likely to get illnesses that require admission to hospital. Many children who suffer severe infectious illnesses have their health compromised for life. As adults their ability to work and participate is affected.

Children most severely affected are those from beneficiary families, trying to cope on incomes languishing at levels set in 1991. With family assistance increasingly linked to people’s ability to work, children of parents on benefits miss out and, predictably, are becoming sicker.

“There is a strong body of research showing that people’s health – including children’s health – is negatively affected by the sort of income gap that puts New Zealand second only to the U.S. in the OECD, says CPAG spokesperson Assoc-Prof Mike O’Brien.

”The health of children in low-income families, whether on benefits or in work, has not improved in the last four years, at best it has stopped deteriorating for some diseases. Our continued underfunding of families means we now have worse rates for some childhood diseases than Australia or the US.

“Because income is so important for these children and also their parents, we urge that future tax cuts go to where they can do the greatest good for society – to low-income families who have a real need for additional cash to pay for decent food and medical treatment,” says Assoc-Prof O’Brien.

“Policy change over the past twenty years has undermined the incomes of the poorest families by allowing low wages and benefits to fall so much compared to everyone else. We can now clearly see who is paying the price from the child health data in this report.

“It’s time to ask if we can really afford to ignore the fact that our child health statistics are the second worst in the OECD. There needs to be a redistribution back to children if we want them to become healthy functioning adults,” O’Brien concludes.

- The report, Monitoring the Health of New Zealand Children and Young People: Indicator Handbook is available from the Paediatric Society through their website,


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news