The launch of a children’s social health monitor to track the economic well-being of New Zealand children and their families is one of several newsworthy items on the agenda at the Paediatric Society`s annual conference in Hamilton this week. There are concerns from doctors, child welfare organisations and academics at the potential for rising child health problems and poverty after the current economic downturn.

New Zealand Child and Youth Epidemiology Service director Dr Elizabeth Craig, a public health physician in Dunedin, said it was expected a range of health conditions among children would deteriorate after the recession. Tracking them would be critical to quickly alert relevant authorities, she said.

The conference theme is “Starving in the age of recession: the ecology of child health”.

It will be held at the WEL Energy Academy of Performing Arts at Waikato University. Dr Craig’s keynote speech on New Zealand Past, New Zealand Present, New Zealand Yet to Come: Child and Youth Health in New Zealand, opens the conference on Wednesday at 9am.

 She will be followed by a presentation on successful child and youth health initiatives, from an international perspective.

 Sessions include a discussion on Project Energize, a $1.834 million annual project funded by Waikato District Health Board and run by Sport Waikato, to improve children’s physical activity and nutrition to improve their overall health.

 

Waikato District Health Board

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