Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Child Poverty Priority for New Chief Health Officer

Academic journal article The Journal of the Royal Society for the Promotion of Health

Child Poverty Priority for New Chief Health Officer

Article excerpt

CANADA

Canada's chief public health officer has urged the country to reduce child poverty in his first annual report on the physical and mental well being of the country. Dr David Butler-Jones recommended measures such as income redistribution, targeted intervention for low income families, healthy early learning and collective contributions to achieve this goal.

"Every dollar spent in ensuring a healthy start in the early years will reduce the long-term costs associated with health care, addictions, crime, unemployment and welfare," said Dr David Butler-Jones in his report.

The report also suggested using programmes with proven success in reducing child poverty, and cited the Pathways to Education programme in Toronto as an example. This support initiative for at risk and disadvantaged youths in the Regent Park area of the city reduced school dropout rates from 56% to 10%. Dr Butler-Jones said similar schemes should be adopted nationwide.

Other highlights of the report looked at the role economics, social, and environmental factors played on the state of the nation's health.

"While some health challenges can be related to our genetic makeup, evidence shows that Canadians with adequate shelter, a safe and secure food supply, access to education, employment and sufficient income for basic needs, adopt healthier behaviours and have better health," he wrote. …

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