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21 November 2014

More WA kids living smoke-free

The latest survey of the health and wellbeing of children in Western Australia shows 98 per cent of WA kids are living in smoke-free homes.

The annual Health and Wellbeing of Children in Western Australia 2013, Overview and Trends provides the health system and the public with information about all aspects of the health and wellbeing of Western Australians aged 0 to 15 years.

The 2013 survey also showed that the rate of neither parent smoking during pregnancy has risen by nearly 20 per cent in the last eight years.

Paediatrician Dr John Wray, who is WA Health Senior Clinical Advisor to the Child Development Service, said this was positive for the health of WA children.

"We know that smoking is on the decline in our community and this is now translating into children growing up in healthier environments," Dr Wray said.

"It is also very positive to see so many more parents making the decision not to smoke during pregnancy in order to give their baby the best start in life."

While just over 85 per cent of children were reported as having very good or excellent health by their parents, there are some concerns with nutrition and physical activity.

"Only four out of ten children in Western Australia are eating the recommended daily serves of vegetables," Dr Wray said.

"Added to this, we have three out of four children aged 2 to 5 years using more than the recommended daily guide of screen usage and the prevalence of children not participating in any physical activity in the previous week was the highest since 2006 at 6.1 per cent."

Other key findings include:

  • The percentage of parents or carers who always check if their child is adequately protected by the sun has increased significantly over the past decade, rising from 52.9 per cent in 2003 to 62.3 per cent in 2013.
  • The prevalence of children never eating from fast food outlets was the highest recorded since 2002.
  • In 2013, 91.2 per cent of children aged 0 to 4 years received breast milk from birth.
  • Girls were nearly 20 per cent less likely to be considered "very active" than boys, with 54.9 per cent of boys considered "very active" compared with 37 per cent of girls.

The data for this report is sourced from the Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System (HWSS), which was started in 2002 to monitor the health status of the general population.

To view the report visit: WA Health Publications and Reports website

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333
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