Health Wellness
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A new report released by Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health highlights some major concerns with Canada’s children, including physical and mental health, abuse, and poverty. For instance, Canada has one of the highest infant mortality rates among developed countries, and there’s been a 66 per cent increase in emergency room visits due to mental health concerns over the past 10 years.

Here’s a breakdown of other key findings from the report.

PHYSICAL HEALTH

  • The leading cause for childhood deaths in Canada are preventable accidents and injuries, and the country’s rate of infant mortality is among the highest of developed countries. Nunavut has the highest with 17.7 deaths per 1,000 (more than double any other province), and B.C. has the lowest with 3.5 deaths per 1,000.
  • Nearly 28 per cent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 reported being overweight or obese. B.C. has the least number of overweight children (21 per cent) and Newfoundland has the most (36 per cent).
  • Only 25 per cent of five to 17 year olds meet the daily recommended guidelines for physical activity.
  • In 2013-2014, 17,500 hospitalizations of children and youth were for injuries, 3,000 of which were intentional or caused by others.

MENTAL HEALTH

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadian children and youth, and Canada is ranked in the top five countries for the highest child suicide rates globally
  • Over the last 10 years there has been a 66 per cent increase in emergency department visits, and a 55 per cent increase in hospitalizations, of children and youth (age 5-24 years) due to mental health concerns
  • Ontario has the highest rate of hospitalizations of children for mental health issues (16,291 children in 2016 to 2017) according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information

ABUSE

  • One in three Canadians suffered some form of child abuse before the age of 16

POVERTY

  • 1.2 million children live in low-income housing
  • 10.7 per cent of families with children under 6 years of age say they experience food insecurity