Health of B.C. children and youth positive overall: report

Provincial health officers release findings on birth weights, tooth decay, substance use and more.

A new report shows an overall good grade on the health and well-being of children and youth in B.C., despite notable disparities between gender and regions.

The report, called “Is ‘Good’, Good enough?” was released Thursday morning by Child Health BC and the provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.

It analyzes 51 indicators on a broad range of subjects, from birth weights to immunization to self-esteem.

The report was overall positive, Kendall said,  but shows a need to explore the reasoning behind the regional differences between children and youth health in urban and rural areas of the province.

“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,” Kendall said.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan Peever told the crowd it’s “shocking that many indicators [are] a lot worse in northern communities.”

Peever, a resident from Fort St. John, is a member of the BC Student Voice – a group that connects leadership students together to focus on the education and health needs of their peers.

Members of the group meet twice a year to discuss priority needs, with this information contributing to the new report.

The report also showed differences between sex and genders when it comes to mental health, where females fared worse than males overall.

Female youth in grades 7 to 12 are more likely to consider and/or attempt suicide than male youth; however, male youth age 15 to 19 have a higher suicide mortality rate, according to the report.

Bullying – despite there being a decrease in cyber-bullying since 2008 – is also themed by gender.

In 2013, 57 per cent of females students in Grade 7 to 12 reported they were bullied, compared to 42 per cent of males.

Report highlights trends

Also of highlight, infant mortality rates, tooth decay, and tobacco and alcohol use in teenagers were on the decline, while the numbers show fewer children going to bed hungry — though that rate still sits at six per cent.

Of concern, one-third of B.C. children are not not up-to-date with their immunizations by the age of seven, or entering into Grade 1.

Similarly, B.C.’s urban residents make up the highest percentage of people with unstable housing in the country, particularly in Vancouver (20 per cent), compared to Abbotsford (13 per cent).

“It’s one of the things we know impact ability to learn and grow,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, deputy provincial health officer.

Henry noted there are significant gaps of data on children and youth mental health.

“We don’t have rates of youth experiencing mental health issues and treatment,” she said. “[It’s] something we need to do better.”

However, youth generally have a “good positive view” of themselves, she noted.

The full report can be found here.

@ashwadhwaniashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

BC Hydro replacing hundreds of old power poles in Surrey

More than 10 per cent of BC Hydro poles are at least 50 years old

WATCH: $76 million pledged for coastal flooding mitigation in Surrey and Delta

Portion of funding will be used to replace the Nicomekl and Serpentine sea dams

Last-second kick gives Mariners a Fraser Valley rugby win

Earl Marriott senior boys side defeats Abbotsford’s Yale Lions 24-22 in championship tilt

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say body found after fire at Whalley homeless camp

Police say the body was found inside a shed after firefighters extinguished a blaze

Survey finds SkyTrain extension has 85 per cent support in Surrey, Langley

TransLink says there has been record-level response in public engagement about the project

BREAKING: Court says B.C. can’t restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain

A five-judge Appeal Court panel agreed unanimously that B.C.’s proposed legislation was not constitutional

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

RCMP probe hit-and-run of Richmond senior

The man, who is in his mid-70s, was walking with his wife when he was allegedly struck

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Coquitlam crash kills one person, injured two others

Investigators with the RCMP criminal crash unit are working to determing the cause of the incident

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

Vancouver man in serious condition after crash between motorcycle, transport truck

The man, 40, remains in hospital after a Thursday collision. Police believe speed was a factor

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Most Read