Child health needs of young children from families living in social and economic disadvantage

G. Naughton, K. Gibbons, J. Myers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The 11% of children in Australia living in poverty, (UNICEF, 2012) have parents with low regular income, disconnection from services in employment, health and education, and feeling socially isolated from supportive networks. Refugees, newly arrived migrants and migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds are overrepresented in areas of social disadvantage in Australia. Despite the availability of universal health services such as child health nurses, families from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are missing out on important support for the early years of childhood. Living in social disadvantage places young children at risk of poor health outcomes (Power, 2005; Law et al., 2012). The links between poor nutrition, inadequate physical activity, and socioeconomic disadvantage (e.g. low income, low educational attainment) are well established (Ebenegger et al., 2011). For example, individuals from lower socioeconomic areas consumed less fruit and vegetables, and more fat than individuals living in higher socioeconomic areas in Australia (Williams et al., 2011). Children from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are also over-represented in the prevalence of obesity from a young age (Shrewsbury and Wardle, 2008). Child health practices in areas of social disadvantage in Australia are infrequently described. A Needs Assessment originally conducted in 1995 within more socially disadvantaged, outer western suburbs of Melbourne, (Australia) (Graham et al., 2000; Gibbons et al., 2000) was repeated in 2010. The overall purpose was to review family and child health practitioners’ perceptions of child nutrition, physical activity and childhood obesity concerns in families from the same outer western suburbs of Melbourne as previously studied and a regional area with a matching socioeconomic demographic. A secondary purpose was toinvestigate differences between child health needs of families in regional and urban areas of similar socioeconomic disadvantage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren and Exercise XXVIII
Subtitle of host publicationThe Proceedings of the 28th Pediatric Work Physiology Meeting
EditorsManuel Coelho-E-Silva, Amândio Cupido-dos-Santos, António J. Figueiredo, José P. Ferreira, Neil Armstrong
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780203404584
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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