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Published: 5 May 2014

Authors: Turner, N., & Asher, I.

Child poverty and health

Part 1 of Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy series.

The future health and wellbeing of any country is dependent on the well-being of its children. A much greater proportion of New Zealand children are affected by poverty now than 2-3 decades ago (see Figure 1 in the Introduction to the series), with accompanying ill health. Poverty is one of the leading factors contributing to childhood illness, disease, disability and deaths in New Zealand. In addition to those immediate consequences, many major health issues in adulthood have origins in childhood poverty, such as cardiovascular disease, mental illness, dental decay and lowered longevity.