A picture of Australia’s children

George C Patton, Sharon R Goldfeld, Indrani Pieris-Caldwell, Meredith Bryant and Graham V Vimpani
Med J Aust 2005; 182 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2005.tb06778.x
Published online: 2 May 2005

Do we have a clear enough picture to guide rational health and social policy responses?

Australia’s economic prosperity has long brought incremental health gains through better living conditions, sanitation, education, medical care and vaccination.1 The effects on child health and mortality have been striking. The latest report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), A picture of Australia’s children, documents this continuing trend. Infant and child mortality rates halved again in the past 20 years.2 The fall in deaths from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to a third of 1991 rates is a tribute to outstanding Australian child health research, as well as the work of child and family health nurses and the SIDS Council of Australia.3 A steady decline in deaths from injury in later childhood has also contributed to lower childhood mortality. Judged by these indices, the present generation of Australian children is the healthiest ever.

  • George C Patton1
  • Sharon R Goldfeld2
  • Indrani Pieris-Caldwell3
  • Meredith Bryant4
  • Graham V Vimpani5

  • 1 Centre for Adolescent Health, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Centre for Community Child Health, Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 3 Children, Youth and Families Unit, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Canberra, ACT.
  • 4 Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW.



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