Background/ Why Is This Important?
The health and well-being of BC’s children and youth is critical to the current and future well-being of the province. While BC is often considered the healthiest place in Canada, the health and well-being of our children and youth has not been consistently measured and monitored.
In 2013, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) issued the Child and Youth Health and Well-being Indicators Project: CIHI and B.C. PHO Joint Summary Report. The report identifies a suite of 51 modifiable indicators, within five dimensions, for which data can be collected and analyzed to define and track child and youth health and well-being in BC. Indicators are evidence based and reflect a population health approach.
What Actions Have Already Been Taken?
Building on the Indicators Project, Child Health BC partnered with BC’s Provincial Health Officer to develop a report that examines the current status of child and youth health, and establishes a baseline to continue monitoring their health into the future. Stakeholders from across BC helped analyze the data and determine key findings for each of the indicators.
Is "Good", Good Enough? A Report on the Health & Well-Being of Children and Youth in BC is the first report of its kind in Canada. It contains BC-specific data, related literature, discussions and recommendations that can inform decision-making around the development of policy, programs and services aimed at improving the lives of children and youth in BC.
Overall, the health and well-being of youth and children in BC is reasonably good, particularly when compared to other jurisdictions in Canada. However, some indicators are stable and not showing improvement, meaning that a portion of children and youth are continually left behind in health and wellness. Additionally, for many indicators, there are substantial disparities based on sex/gender and geography.
Where Are We Now?
The information in the report is being used to support provincial activities around specific areas. For example, engaging with youth to determine how to support healthy decisions around cannabis, advocating for physical activity strategies that focus on participation by girls, and recognizing the need to implement evidence-based oral health initiatives to address early childhood caries.
In partnership with the BC Observatory for Population and Public Health, Child Health BC is currently working to further update the information on the 51 indicators for the next version of the report. A specific focus will be placed on developing a data visualization platform to enable exploration of child and youth indicators at different population strata and at geographical levels to support the work of regional and provincial stakeholders. This project aims to increase the value of this set of indicators by building the necessary data infrastructure to allow the indicators to be more readily updated and made available to stakeholders across the province.
The new version of the report will be published in 2021.