The Children's Commissioner says health providers have a long way to go to improve services for young New Zealanders.
A report looking at what effect the recession has had on children was issued on Monday.
The Children's Social Health Monitor report by the University of Otago and the Pediatric Society found one in five children belong to a family that relies on a benefit for income.
The report says that the rate of children going to hospital for diseases known to be linked to socio-economic conditions has increased.
The number of children admitted with infectious, respiratory and other diseases last year was up by 2000, compared with figures in 2007.
Children's Commissioner John Angus says the report's findings are concerning and show health providers need to improve when it comes to all children - particularly those from low income families.
Organisations such as the Child and Youth Epidemiology Service and the Child Poverty Action Group say the findings are of concern, with children appearing to bear the brunt of tough economic conditions.
Child and youth epidemiology service director Elizabeth Craig says it is impossible to prove a direct link between socio-economic conditions and hospital admissions, but the increase is worrying.