Determinants of Child Health

Determinants of Child Health

Any child's health, development, and welfare reflect the interaction of various factors including:
- the individual's genetic endowment;
- environmental factors including aspects of the direct physical environment such as housing and 'behavioral' factors such as
- the quality of interpersonal relationships, particularly with the child's primary caregiver;
- the wider social, political, and economic circumstances the child is living in;
- the availability of health care.

The health of the child's mother is also an important factor in determining the health of the child, whether this is, for example, in ensuring proper antenatal care of mothers with diabetes or treating and supporting mothers with psychiatric problems or alcohol addiction.

The impact of this complex web of determinants of health is reflected in the marked socioeconomic inequalities that exist in child health. These inequalities are seen both between countries of the resource rich and developing worlds and also within individual countries. Even within resource rich countries, almost all indicators of child health show a marked social gradient, with children living in disadvantaged circumstances having poorer health. In Scotland, for example, children from the most deprived areas are more than twice as likely to die compared to children from the most affluent areas with some specific health problems showing particularly marked inequalities.

Source: Forfar and Arneil's Textbook of Pediatrics, 7E

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