10 Apr 2013

Child poverty 'poses risk to health of all'

8:47 am on 10 April 2013

The College of Public Health Medicine has added its voice to concerns about child poverty, saying the cost to society is too great to ignore.

Two reports this week have focused on the impact of overcrowding and poverty on rates of rheumatic fever and asthma in children.

The college's president, Julia Peters, says since the economic reforms of the 1980s the level of persistent child poverty has hovered at about 20% and for these children New Zealand is not a great place to be brought up in.

Dr Peters says the social, economic and health costs of persistent poverty are compounding over time and pose a risk to the long-term health and prosperity of all New Zealanders.

She says even though there are constant funding problems, resources need to be shifted to meet the needs of children and address the underlying causes of poverty.