British Columbia's provincial health officer has taken a comprehensive look at the health and well-being of the almost one million children and youth in the province in a report that is the first of its kind in Canada.
Dr. Perry Kendall says the report focuses on five broad issues composed of 51 indicators considered key to the healthy development of children from birth weights and immunizations, to self-esteem and substance-use issues.
The topics cover physical, economic, mental and emotional well-being of youth, and examine social relationships and cognitive development, such as information processing, language acquisition and other aspects of brain maturation.
According to the study, the overall health and well-being of B.C.'s children and youth is quite good although Kendall says there are some disparities, particularly related to gender and geography.
Among its findings, the report reveals infant mortality in the province has dropped by more than half in 28 years, tooth decay in kindergarten children has been curbed, and just 20.7 per cent of youth admitted to trying tobacco in 2013, down 10 per cent in a decade.
The Ministry of Health says in a news release that the study is designed to form a baseline to measure improvement as the ministry and its partners support the health and well-being of children and youth in B.C.