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Australia’s Children report

Australia’s children is a new report issued by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) that examines the most recent data on children and families across seven domains: health, education, social support, household income and finance, parental employment, housing, and justice and safety.

Positive health findings include:

  • Infant and child death rates have reduced substantially
  • Fewer mothers are smoking during pregnancy

Room for improvement was found in the following health data:

  • One in four children aged 5-14 were overweight or obese and this has remained stable in the decade preceding 2017-18.
  • Most children don’t eat enough vegetables, although there was an increase in those reaching target consumption between 2015-15 (2.9%) and 2017-18 (4.4%). These percentages are still tiny.
  • In 2011-12, only 23% of children aged 5-14 did the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
  • On average children aged 5-14 spend 123 minutes each day in front of a screen.

Other interesting findings on health and wellbeing include:

  • Among children aged 5-14, asthma was the leading cause of disease burden, followed by mental health disorders.
  • Children in low-income households were twice as likely to have untreated dental decay as children in high-income households.
  • In 2017-18, 61% of children had been exclusively breastfed to at least 4 months of age.
  • In 2017-18, 57% of children aged 5-14 did not usually consume sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB); 6.3% consumed them daily. Children living in the lowest socioeconomic areas were considerably more likely to consume SSBs at least once per week.
  • In 2019, around 11% of households with children aged 0-14 years were jobless families. Twenty four percent of the two million low-income households in Australia included children 0-14 years.

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