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Child Health Report shows northern BC inequities

A new report from Northern Health paints a concerning picture when it comes to the health of northern BC children.

Compared to the rest of the province, children in the north have higher rates of poor oral health, about a third are not physically or
emotionally ready to make the transition to school, and across northern BC, one-five-children lives in a low income family.

Northern BC women have the lowest rates of exclusive breastfeeding of babies up to six months of age, rates of overweight and obese mothers are higher in the north, and there are higher rates of alcohol and tobacco consumption during pregnancy.

CEO Cathy Ulrich admits many of the issues affecting the health of children are societal.

Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Sandra Allison, developed the report based on a year’s worth of research. She says it will be important for northerners to develop solutions designed to address the health inequities faced by children.

Allison has made six recommendations, including the development of a program focused on children, youth, and families in northern BC, support to provide foundations for early childhood development, and achieving high levels of collaboration across sectors.

Based on the report’s findings, Northern Health will launch its seventh community consultation on the issue starting this May.

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