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1 in 6 three year olds have longstanding health condition

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 06/10/2014. 1 in 6 three year olds have longstanding health conditionTags: Parenting

A report published today by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has found that 1 in six (15.8% ) of three-year-olds suffer from a long-term health condition, with poor children more likely to have health problems than those in better socioeconomic conditions.

A long term health condition is described as:

"....[a} condition or disability” (where longstanding was defined as “anything that has troubled him/her over a period of time or that is likely to affect him/her over a period of time”).
- Diagnosed asthma or asthma symptoms
- Diagnosed eczema/any kind of skin allergy
- Sight problem that required correction
- Hearing problem that required correction

The report found that three-year-old children in Ireland were significantly more likely to have a longstanding illness if their parent or primary carer had a longstanding condition. These conditions were also more likely among children in households in the lower social class.

The study said that sight problems among children were more likely if the child had a lower birthrate, and or, if the mother smoked during her pregnancy.

The report also found that hearing, sight and skin problems were more abundant among males (50% more), and also greater if the child had a lower birth weight, and if parent or child carer had also had longstanding condition.

The institute’s director of research Prof Kevin Balanda said these conditions could affect a child in many ways.

“Children with these conditions can have poorer quality of life, poorer social and emotional development, and poorer educational achievement,” he said. “Knowing the characteristics of children with these conditions helps us develop policies and plan services for children and their families.”

This report, based on data from the Growing Up in Ireland National Longitudinal Study of Children in the Republic of Ireland, is the first comprehensive look at longstanding health conditions among young children in Ireland, with it’s conclusions aiming to:“ offer focus for policy and service interventions to improve the lives of children and their families.”


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