Poverty Seen As A Challenge To Healthy Kids

Prince George, BC, Canada / CKPG News
Poverty Seen As A Challenge To Healthy Kids

One in five children in Northern BC are being raised in poverty. That’s one of the findings of a report pulled together by Northern Health. Last year, Northern Health asked the question: “What’s it like growing up in the North?” A team visited 20 Northern BC communities and heard from nearly a thousand individuals and organizations.
“So this report really is the culmination of feedback from communities,” says Dr. Sandra Allison, Chief Medical Health Officer for Northern Health. “It really is the communities’ voice.”
The feedback overwhelmingly pointed to poverty as the main barrier to raising children in a healthy environment. Lack of transportation was another barrier. However, having access to nature, sports and recreation were seen as positive to a healthy lifestyle.
The feedback also pointed to Northern Health needed to improve access and supports for mental health and addictions services for youth.
“How do we support families in our communities?” asks Dr. Allison.
The report sets out an overall look at the region and the health determinants for children, but it also breaks down the concerns expressed in each individual community.
“I am hopeful people will read this report, especially in smaller communities, talk about it and identify the issues,” says Dr. Charles Jago, Chair of the Board for Northern Health. “It’s hard to predict what the response is going to be.”
Dr. Allison says she will be taking the report and the findings to different health-related organizations as well as government to jointly find ways to tackle one of the toughest issues out there: Child poverty.

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