Canadian paediatricians join international efforts to eradicate poverty

OTTAWA, Monday, October 22, 2007  ? The Canadian Paediatric Society is part of a global effort spearheaded by the Council of Science Editors to raise awareness, understanding and further research on poverty throughout the world. Paediatrics & Child Health, the CPS journal, is one of 233 peer reviewed publications publishing papers on the topic this month.

 

The October issue of Paediatrics & Child Health examines poverty from a Canadian perspective. Exploring issues such as poverty during pregnancy, its relation to obesity and its impact on educational outcomes for children, the journal examines what paediatricians, family physicians and other child health professionals can do to break the cycle.

“This issue of Paediatrics & Child Health, and the simultaneous focus on poverty by over 200 international journals, is a wake-up call to all of us in the health care profession, and provides us with basic facts and tools to combat child poverty,” said guest editors Dr. Harvey Guyda and Dr. Robin Williams. 

One in six Canadian children lives in poverty, and the numbers are even higher in Aboriginal communities (one in four). Poverty is a risk factor for most negative health outcomes, including infant mortality, asthma, obesity, functional disabilities, poor literacy, poor school readiness, and behavioural and mental health difficulties.  

Canada is trailing behind other developed countries when it comes to reducing childhood poverty ? it currently ranks 19th out of 26 OECD countries in terms of the percentage of children living in relative poverty. There is also significant variability, not only across provinces, but within certain communities, all pointing toward a need to intensify Canada’s efforts. 

“We hope to encourage the collective efforts of our voices for the development of a realistic national strategy that will truly make Canada a country fit for all of our children, no matter who they are, or where they live,” said Dr. Williams, Medical Officer of Health in the Niagara Region and Dr. Guyda, Head of Paediatrics at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.  

The special issue of the journal aims to develop an understanding of the reality of childhood poverty in Canada, including incidence, demographics, and health and social impacts. It includes an article by National Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations, and an interview with child and youth advocate Andrée Ruffo.  

The Canadian Paediatric Society is a national advocacy association that promotes the health needs of children and youth. Founded in 1922, the CPS represents more than 2,500 paediatricians, paediatric subspecialists and other child health professionals across Canada.

The current issue of Paediatrics & Child Health can be accessed at: http://www.pulsus.com/journals/toc.jsp?sCurrPg=journal&jnlKy=5&fold=Current%20Issue.

For more information on the international event, visit http://www.fic.nih.gov/news/events/cse.htm. 

Media inquiries:
Olivia Craft
Canadian Paediatric Society
613-526-9397, ext. 234  

Jennifer Lefebvre
Canadian Paediatric Society
613-526-9397, ext. 247
613-850-4868 (cell)