Background/ Why Is This Important?
British Columbia is often considered to be the healthiest place in Canada. But how healthy are BC’s children and youth? The answer to this question is important because the childhood years are critical ones that can most strongly impact the rest of our lives and where the greatest opportunity for positive influence lies.
Improving the lives of children and youth in this province is essential to the health and well-being of not only the child and youth population, but also the province as a whole. This report provides data, related literature, discussions, and recommendations for decision-makers, educators, planners, members of communities, and youth to make the changes that are needed to improve the health and well-being of all children and youth in BC.
Supporting the health and well-being of children and youth through the social determinants of health is critical. The social determinants of health, such as housing, income, education, and employment, have a vital role in determining health outcomes. This report provides a holistic view of health and reflects the best and most current evidence on the contributing factors and modifiable conditions that truly make a difference to child and youth health and well-being outcomes.
What Actions Have Already Been Taken?
Where did this work start? In 2013, the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) undertook a process to produce a series of indicators for monitoring the health and well-being of children and youth in BC. The process to develop the indicators and the final suite of 51 indicators were published in 2013 in the report entitled Child and Youth Health and Well-being Indicators Project: CIHI and B.C. PHO Joint Summary Report. This report identified modifiable indicators for which data can be collected and analyzed to define and track child and youth health and well-being in BC.
Building on this, Child Health BC partnered with the PHO to develop this baseline report on child and youth health and well-being. An extensive collaborative process brought together stakeholders from across the province to analyze the data and determine the key findings for each of the indicators, using an evidence-based population health approach. In addition, through BC Student Voice, a network of students from school districts across the province, youth provided input on some of the indicators and related data. Their comments and recommendations provide rich insight into these indicators and are highlighted in this report.
Where Are We Now?
The report “Is ‘Good,’ Good Enough?” uses these 51 indicators to examine the current status of child and youth health, and establishes a baseline to continue monitoring their health into the future. Indicators are grouped under five key “dimensions”: physical health and well-being; mental and emotional health and well-being; social relationships; economic and material well-being; and cognitive development. Findings presented in the report can inform decision-making as it relates to the development of policy, programs, and services aimed at improving the lives of children and youth in BC.