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Starving in the Age of Recession

Media Release

Date: 22 November 2009

Starving in the Age of Recession

The launch of a children’s social health monitor to track the economic wellbeing of New Zealand children and their families is one of several newsworthy items on the agenda at the Paediatric Society’s annual conference in Hamilton this week.

There are concerns from doctors, child welfare organisations and academics at the potential for rising child health problems and poverty after the current economic downturn.

New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service director Dr Elizabeth Craig, a public health physician in Dunedin, said it was expected a range of health conditions among children would deteriorate after the recession.

Tracking them would be critical to quickly alert relevant authorities, she said.

The conference theme is "Starving in the age of recession: the ecology of child health". It will be held at the WEL Energy Academy of Performing Arts at Waikato University. Dr Craig’s keynote speech on New Zealand Past, New Zealand Present, New Zealand Yet to Come: Child and Youth Health in New Zealand, opens the conference on Wednesday at 9am.

She will be followed by Mitch Blair of London, a consultant reader in paediatrics and child public health, who will speak on successful child and youth health initiatives, from an international perspective.

On Thursday at 9.45am the keynote speaker is Susan Morton who leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers as the director of Growing Up in New Zealand, a new longitudinal study of New Zealand children and their families designed to provide robust evidence to inform policy across sectors about child development.

Sessions include a discussion on Project Energize, a $1.834 million annual project funded by Waikato District Health Board and run by Sport Waikato, to improve children’s physical activity and nutrition to improve their overall health.

Other session highlights:

• Developing a Maori perspective on child and youth health
• Facilitating soft landings: focusing on influences on parents’ decision making about their sick child
• Six things every pre-schooler needs
• The affordability of nutritious food for New Zealand children, and
• Is my child eating enough zinc?

The media is invited to attend the Social Health Monitor launch on Wednesday morning. If you want to arrange an interview with any of the conference speakers, or attend other sessions, please contact me. For conference details go to:


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