250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 8:27 pm

Child Health in Northern B.C. – Mixed Findings Says Report

Thursday, November 3, 2016 @ 4:50 PM

Prince George, B.C. – There is some good news and some not so good news in  a new report on  Child Health in B.C.

The report, “Is ‘Good’,  Good enough?”  is the first of its kind in  Canada.  A collaboration of  experts in the Province ,  the  report  is meant to be a baseline for measuring improvements  as  efforts continue to  improve  the health and well being of children and youth in  B.C.

But there are  issues.

Provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall, says the report shows the overall health and well-being of children and youth in this province is “quite good”, but  Dr. Kendall points out there  are some disparities, “Particularly  based on sex/gender and geography.”

That regional disparity  is evident in a number of areas:

  • There has been an overall decrease in the number of children with visible tooth decay in BC, but children in northern BC are not faring as well as other children.
  • a higher percentage of students participate in daily physical activity in rural areas as compared to more urban areas, and there is a striking difference in physical activity rates between sexes.
  • The percentages of BC youth who have ever used tobacco, consumed alcohol, or used marijuana have decreased. Additionally, the percentages of youth who use tobacco daily, who binge drink, and who use marijuana on a regular basis have also decreased.
  • While youth tobacco use is decreasing overall, there are substantial geographic differences in its use with more  youth  in the North reporting daily tobacco use than their  counterparts in   other areas of BC.
  • There has been a substantial decrease in teen pregnancy since 1989; however, for the health authorities, there is a five-fold difference between the highest rate (Northern Health) and the lowest rate (Vancouver Coastal Health).

For  children in the  northern  part of the province,  ( students in grades 7-12) the report indicates  higher  rates of  discrimination, daily tobacco use and fewer students   with a healthy weight ,

When it comes to daily tobacco use,   2.5% of the same students  in the North  report using tobacco daily, compared to a low  of 0.9% in the lower mainland

But there is some good news,   with Northern  children  reporting a higher rate of  physical activity, with 19.4% reporting they had taken part in at least 60 minutes of physical activity   every  day for  the previous  week.  That’s the highest percentage  recorded  in the Province.

Dr. Kendall says there is  work to be  done “There are about 960,000 children and youth in B.C., and more exploration, analyses and focused attention are needed to ensure that groups of them are not left behind as the overall
health of this population improves.”

The report makes  five recommendations:

  • calling for a commitment to address health disparities based on sex/gender and geography;
  • creating an inter-ministerial committee to support actions generated from the report;
  • developing mechanisms to share best practices;
  • developing a coordinated approach to ongoing data collection and reporting; and
  • creating an ongoing forum to engage B.C. youth with community stakeholders

The full report can be viewed by clicking here


Comments for this article are closed.