Health & Wellbeing Report – How Australian Children Measure Up
Monday, 6th October 2008 at 4:18 pm
A report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) examines the progress made in child and youth health and wellbeing over the last decade in Australia and focuses on both improvements and future challenges.
The AIHW report, Making progress: the health, development and wellbeing of Australia’s children and young people, highlights improvements such as the 30% fall in mortality rates for people under the age of 20, and the fact that teen smoking rates have halved since 2001.
It also shows that in the last decade Indigenous infant mortality rates have fallen, and that more Indigenous students remain in school until year 12 than ever before.
But in addition to reporting progress, the AIHW report shows that, while many Australian children and adolescents are faring well, some experience considerably worse health, poorer developmental and learning outcomes and generally reduced wellbeing than others in the population, and there are many areas where further gains in health and wellbeing could be achieved.
Indigenous children are still twice as likely as others to be low birthweight, to be hospitalised for various chronic conditions, and to die before the age of 20.
Findings showed that disadvantage is not limited to Indigenous children and youth.
The report found that over 95,000 (7%) of 15 to 19 year olds were neither employed nor studying, putting them at risk for decreased opportunities to fully participate in society.
In 2005, almost 50,000 children under the age of 5 had unmet demand for child care or preschool due to lack of available places.
Teenage girls living in regional areas were twice as likely to give birth, and those living in remote or very remote areas five times as likely to give birth, as their peers in major cities.
And 15% of Australian children under the age of 15 live in jobless families.
International comparisons show that Australia has the second highest percentage of children living in jobless families in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The full report can be downloaded online at http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/10653