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Children with economic and social needs at greatest risk: report

The emergency department at Kings County Memorial Hospital will be closed Dec. 26, but will re-open Dec. 27 at 8 a.m.
A P.E.I. health report has found that children with the greatest economic and social needs also have a greater risk to their health.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – A P.E.I. health report has found that children with the greatest economic and social needs also have a greater risk to their health.

Released earlier this month by the Chief Public Health Office, “Children’s Report 2017: Investing in our Future” is the province’s first-ever report on the health and well-being of Island children.

The report looks at four health and well-being domains that play a significant role in a child’s life: physical and mental health, healthy childhood development, cognitive development and the social environment.

The report’s findings indicate health inequity exists and children of families with low income, higher rates of unemployment and fewer supports have more risk factors and poorer health outcomes than children living in families with greater privilege.

“Health equity is a value we all share,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison. “Through this report we can see that only committed and sustained efforts by government and community will have the potential for lasting and significant impact on the overall health of Island young people.”

The report includes two main calls to action:

1. For individuals, community groups and all levels of government to address health inequity by redistributing societal resources to improve the social determinants of health, particularly for disadvantaged groups

2. For improved surveillance and responsive environments since the ability to collect and share meaningful data is essential for making decisions that will support children now and in the future

“This report is the start of important and sometimes difficult conversations about ensuring that all children experience the conditions they need to have the best possible start in life, the resources and opportunities to learn and thrive and that the supports are in place to assist families in making healthy life choices,” said Morrison.

The full report can be found online at www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/publication/prince-edward-island-childrens-report-2017.

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