Indigenous Children’s Health Report: Health Assessment in Action

Executive Summary

Introduction: Global Disparities in Indigenous Children’s Health

This report documents what we know about the health of Indigenous children (from birth to age twelve) and evaluates the quality of Indigenous child health data collection in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.Striking Indigenous/non-Indigenous health disparities were identified in all four countries, including:
• Infant Mortality Rates that are 1.7 to 4 times higher than those of non-Indigenous infants
• higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome
• higher rates of child injury, accidental death, and suicide
• higher rates of ear infections
• a disproportionate burden of respiratory tract illness and mortality
• a disproportionate burden of dental caries
• increased exposure to environmental contaminants, including tobacco smoke

Other common themes identified across the four countries include:
• a need to improve Indigenous child health ethnicity data
• the identification of colonization as a shared and underlying determinant of Indigenous health
• disparate numbers of Indigenous children live below the poverty line and/or in overcrowded accommodation and this directly impacts their health
• differential access to healthcare, economic and social resources for Indigenous children and their families compared to non-Indigenous populations

Given the diverse genetic heritage of these widely dispersed Indigenous groups, we must conclude that similar exclusionary social policies active in all four countries are at the root of these profound and unjust differences in child health.

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