Inequalities in early childhood outcomes: what lies beneath

21 Jan 2014

Child health inequalities exist in all western countries including Australia and constitute a significant and potentially preventable public health problem. Although the data are limited, in Australia we know the predictors of future health inequities – differential health outcomes that are unjust, unnecessary and unacceptable, and potentially preventable – begin in utero. For example, there are differentially higher rates of maternal smoking and subsequent rates of low birth weights in Aboriginal mothers and those living in poorer and more remote areas. The increasing evidence from developmental health research suggests that inequities emerging in early childhood are maintained into adulthood as higher rates of mortality and physical, social and cognitive morbidity across the social gradient.

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