The impact of poverty on the current and future health status of children
Uniquely connected to different causes, the effects of poverty are Globally, millions suffer from poverty-related health conditions as In countries like Zambia and Zimbabwe, one in five adults live with HIV or . There is a direct correlation between low academic performance and poverty. Ways to Help. The incidence, depth, duration and timing of poverty all influence a child's educational that poverty decreases a child's readiness for school through aspects of health, This relationship has come to be known as a 'socioeconomic gradient'; flatter . This project enlisted children between infancy and five years of age from. inequities can mean the difference between life or death, or a life filled with vigor and good health or one plagued with chronic disease and poor health. .. Using combined five-year results allow the comparison across dif.
As a result of this view, the welfare system has come under increasing attack in recent years. Again, no simple explanations for or solutions to the problem of poverty exist.
Although varying theories abound, sociologists will continue to pay attention to this issue in the years to come. The effects of poverty The effects of poverty are serious.
The impact of poverty on educational outcomes for children
Children who grow up in poverty suffer more persistent, frequent, and severe health problems than do children who grow up under better financial circumstances. Many infants born into poverty have a low birth weight, which is associated with many preventable mental and physical disabilities. Not only are these poor infants more likely to be irritable or sickly, they are also more likely to die before their first birthday.
Children raised in poverty tend to miss school more often because of illness. These children also have a much higher rate of accidents than do other children, and they are twice as likely to have impaired vision and hearing, iron deficiency anemia, and higher than normal levels of lead in the blood, which can impair brain function. Levels of stress in the family have also been shown to correlate with economic circumstances.
Studies during economic recessions indicate that job loss and subsequent poverty are associated with violence in families, including child and elder abuse.
Parents who experience hard economic times may become excessively punitive and erratic, issuing demands backed by insults, threats, and corporal punishment.
Homelessness, or extreme poverty, carries with it a particularly strong set of risks for families, especially children. Fail to address both, and your discussions about the economy or jobs or markets which rely on healthy Canadians and healthy communities are not really complete.
This includes the ability to access safe housing, choose healthy food options, find inexpensive childcare, access social support networks, learn beneficial coping mechanisms and build strong relationships. In Canada, there is no official measure of poverty. The way in which we measure and define poverty has implications for policies developed to reduce poverty and its effect on health. Statistics Canada does not define poverty nor does it estimate the number of families in poverty in Canada.
There is a social gradient in health. This social gradient in health runs from top to bottom of the socioeconomic spectrum. Two interconnected mechanisms have been proposed to explain the pathway between childhood family affluence and health later in life.
The impact of poverty on educational outcomes for children
For a variety of reasons, young children who grow up in low-income families are less prepared for learning Lack of initial school success sets the stage for subsequent underachievement which, by the adolescent years, is associated with lower levels of educational attainment and literacy, and higher rates of school dropout.
Children who lack social and educational capital are also more likely to invest in social identities such as early parenthood, which can affect their aspirations, achievements, chances of employment and type of occupation For example, children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be born with a low birth weight, which, in turn, places them at greater risk for health conditions in adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, noninsulin dependent diabetes, high blood pressure, obstructive lung disease, high blood cholesterol and renal damage Growing up in socioeconomically disadvantaged circumstances is also associated with a greater risk of being overweight or obese.
Children who are overweight or obese when they begin school are more likely to remain overweight or obese during their school years and into adulthood, and to experience health problems such as asthma, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease Poor children also experience family-related stresses that can negatively affect their emotional well-being.
They also have an increased risk of developing unhealthy behaviours such as smoking that can impact on adult health Considerable research evidence points to the negative impact of low socioeconomic status on child health including development and later adult health and well-being.
It is critical that the public discourse on child poverty includes a discussion of its far-reaching impacts on the health of current and future generations of Canadians.
Department of Public Health
Professionals and organizations working within the health sector are well-positioned to articulate the health-related significance of child poverty and to work collaboratively with other sectors to address child poverty. Addressing the impact of child poverty on health requires two strategic approaches: To reduce child poverty, families must have adequate income that can be provided through direct transfers eg, generous child benefits, increased social assistance ratespromotion of parental attachment to the labour force eg, education, skill development training, adequate wages, good working conditions, benefitsand reductions in the costs of essential supports and services eg, housing, child care, supplemental health benefits All areas of the health sector have an important role in advancing public policies that identify and confront socioeconomic structural conditions as major contributors to poverty among families.
In doing so, a key responsibility will be to educate communities and governments at all levels about actual and potential health impacts of policies and programs. Health care professionals and organizations can engage in advocacy on an individual basis, as well as through working in collaboration with coalitions, networks and their own professional associations to address child poverty In addition to advocacy, the health sector, through its programs and services, must strive to mitigate the negative health effects of poverty on families with young children.
For instance, Toronto Public Health provides a range of programs and services that support low-income families by promoting optimal child development and functioning. Key activities include screening and assessment, education and skill building, counselling, service coordination, client advocacy and referral. Many Toronto Public Health programs also link families with a broad range of supports including income supports, employment resources, child-care, housing and health resources In addition to delivering programs and services, the health sector must also work with other community partners to improve coordination and integration of services, and promote equitable access to services by guarding against and reducing barriers.
Given the importance of these early years, it is critical that young children be provided with the best possible start. There is ample evidence that family income is a key determinant of child health and development. Child poverty is a significant public health concern in Canada.
Children living in low-income families or neighbourhoods have worse health outcomes on average than other children on a number of key indicators, including infant mortality, low birth weight, asthma, overweight and obesity, injuries, mental health problems and lack of readiness to learn.
Some groups, such as Aboriginal populations, suffer disproportionately from poverty and its consequences, such as excess infant mortality 20higher risk of injuries, and higher rates of disabilities, respiratory conditions and obesity Two interconnected mechanisms have been proposed to explain the pathways between childhood family affluence and health in later life. According to the first mechanism, adult health is influenced primarily through the connection between socioeconomic status in childhood and in adulthood.
Also, the health sector must take a more active role in advancing healthy public policies that address the socioeconomic conditions that contribute to poverty. National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. From Neurons to Neighbourhoods: The Science of Early Child Development. National Academy Press; Washington: Human Early Learning Partnership.
Apr 26 to 28, Seven uses of the EDI: The Case of British Columbia. Canadian Council on Social Development. Children and youth in Canada: Too many children in poverty for too long Chronic poverty and childhood asthma in the Maritimes versus the rest of Canada.
Can J Public Health. Emotional and behavioural problems. Growing up in Canada: National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries. Ontario Public Health Association. History, prospects and costs.
Policy research working paper Long-term developmental outcomes of low birth weight infants. Effect of neighbourhood income and maternal education on birth outcomes: Disparities in birth outcomes by neighborhood income: Temporal trends in rural and urban areas, British Columbia. Shah P, Ohlsson A. Department of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai Hospital. Toronto Public Health; Literature review of low birth weight, including small for gestational age and preterm birth.