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'Left behind' report a sobering reminder


The Child Poverty Action Group’s 2008 Report, Left behind: How Social and Economic Inequalities Damage New Zealand Children, starkly portrays the influences that the diverse range of socio-economic determinants have on new born babies, children and youth in New Zealand. The report is a sobering reminder of the current state of health for this population group and is an important addition to the extensive body of knowledge that portrays critical elements that contribute to the well being of our country’s young population. The report is welcomed by the Paediatric Society of New Zealand.

The report notes that 'poverty is the single most important determinant of health’ a fact that is well researched and catalogued in the New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service’s document Monitoring the Health of New Zealand Children and Young People: Indicator Handbook .

Nick Baker, Community Paediatrician, and past President of the Paediatric Society stated when the Indicator Handbook was released that

“Outcomes for the current generation of children and young people will determine the future success or failure of the community and society as a whole. Optimising the ecological context in which individuals grow to maturity is a key goal for every community. The far reaching impacts that result from the health and well being status of our children and young people means monitoring and responding to changing indicators must be given a very high priority. “

The Child Poverty Action Group’s report eloquently reiterates those observations. The report draws together the interconnectedness of the wide range of overarching determinants that impact on the health and well being of babies, children and young people. Policy makers must make a commitment to the development of strategies that cross the boundaries between sectors and focus attention on developing linkages that reduce these socio-economic inequalities. Without such strategies the country’s most vulnerable citizens will continue to fall through the gaps. The influence of socio-economic determinants can not be ignored. The Paediatric Society of New Zealand says the overall wellbeing of children and young people must be improved for the sake of our children and youth, and for the wellbeing of all our communities.


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