Children Health and Environment

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・Chicago ・27 Sources

Health aspects are noted to be essential indicators and determinants of early childhood development. Children health issues are some of the most critical aspects of early childhood studies. Unhealthy children have stunted growth and poorly developed mental ability. Not only does good health promotes faster growth and development of the children but it is also evident that healthy kids learn faster. Globally child development is based on the availability of a healthy and safe environment that facilitates play, creativity and socialization elements that are necessary in the learning processes. It can be seen that the children health is affected by environmental factors of political, social, economic and physical aspects. The health concept not only refers to a condition of complete wellbeing relating to the physical, mental, and social aspects of an individual but also encompasses both physical and mental health indicators.
Nutrition and social protection encompass some of the vital aspects of the children health. It can thus be seen that children health is one of the major concern for global entities such as World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations. Children and women are some of the groups who are at risk of being affected by various diseases. The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number four is an example of a global policy that is specifically aimed at reducing the death of children due to various factors affecting the health of children. Efforts of the MDG number has for instance led to a significant decline in the mortality rates in children aged less than 5 years that is seen to have reduced by over 50% as of 2013 as compared to the rates in 1990. The MDGs have so far been replaced by Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seeks to make life on the planet earth to be more possible. The third goal of the SDGs seeks to attain healthy lives while promoting well-being for individuals at all ages. The establishment of the United Nations Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health in 2010 as part of a global initiative towards addressing children health issues can also be seen to have accelerated the decline in the child mortality rates.
The advancement of technology and host of other factors have made the world to be considered a global village. Issues that are affecting one country can be seen to concern other countries that may be not affected directly. The global health entails the goal of improving the health of all people in all nations through eliminating avoidable diseases, disabilities, as well as by promoting the wellness of the entire population. The global perspectives of the children health therefore encompass efforts to improve the nutritional and safety conditions so as to protect the children from various infections. The present paper entails critical analyses of various studies regarding the global children health perspectives.

Policies and Strategies That Affect Children Health

Policies that are aimed promoting the health of children are considered essential in addressing the various problems that are associated with the children who are unhealthy. Several high quality studies have pointed out to the consequences of unhealthy children (Currie and Reichman 2015 p. 3). (Currie and Reichman (2015) outline that kids who are unhealthy are likely to grow into adults who are less productive due to health related problems. The consequences of poor health are further manifested in the fact that the low income is always associated with individuals who are sickly. At the same time it can be noted that the economic costs of treating the various diseases as well as for not turning for work are always high if better health practices are not promoted. Policies that are aimed at promoting children’s health can therefore be seen as necessary for improving a population health. Policies that seek to prevent diseases and health problems that affect children are thus wise decisions and long term investments made by relevant stakeholders and policy makers who are concerned with the health and wellbeing of a population both at the national and international level. Policy makers are therefore tasked with the responsibility of designing and implementing strategies and policies that should be applied in promoting the child health.
The policies are also designed to take into consideration of the fact that various physical and social factors such as unsafe housing, pollu­tion, food insecurity, and maltreatment. All the listed factors are related to poverty and adversely affect health. It can thus be observed that there various strategies that are aimed at addressing the factors so as to alleviate the problems that arise from the mentioned factors. The policy types range from those that touch directly on health issues such as access to health care and direct provision of medical services to those that have indirect impact on health like proper parental care and health education programs. Even though access to preventive, curative and palliative medical policies is essential in promoting the health of the children it can be seen that the other types of strategies are necessary as well. At the same time the policies and strategies are essential for improving the nations’ health and wellbeing while eliminating the various inequalities that are associated with the health of the children.

Environmental Impact on Children Health

Interaction of various factors can be seen to affect children health in a number of ways. It thus important to note that achieving healthy development of children is not a product of isolated influences but combination various factors is observed to be critical in addressing the health issues. Environmental quality is an example of factor that can be observed to have a significant influence on the minors’ health (Ferguson et al. 2013, p. 437). Children are more susceptible to environmental exposure as compared to adults and are more likely to suffer life-long effects from various risk factors to which they are exposed. It can also be noted that the diseases and infirmities affecting the children may not be diagnosed in time it is important to consider the factors that affect the child health such as low birth weight or substance abuse among other factors. The elements of the physical environment that impact the children health include chaos, crowd, pollutant, housing aspects and others. Children are particularly vulnerable to environmental threats from aspects of water and air quality, poisonings and envenomings, sanitation and hygiene and more. The listed threats not only impact development of the youngsters but also lead to high mortality rates especially in developing countries with limited resources. Stakeholders of the global children health must therefore at all times aim at considering the basic elements of the environment that have a significant impact on the life of the children.
The connection of the environment and the health issues that was established by Corvalán, Kjellstrom and Smith (1999) is further emphasized by Landon (2006, p.1) who indicates that people constantly interact with their surroundings and therefore their health are affected by the environmental aspects. Climate change that is one of the major environmental factors is for instance noted to influence the spread of communicable diseases. Prevalence of some diseases is for instance increased by the increasing incidences of global warming and climate change (Landon 2006, p.144). Policies should therefore be formulated that not only address access to care but also that allow remedying of the adversities that result from the variation of environmental aspects such as climate change. The impact of the environmental policy on children health can be observed to lead to the creation of sustainable interventions that are mainly geared towards prevention of the diseases and unhealthy conditions to which the children may be exposed.
Corvalán, Kjellstrom and Smith (1999) discuss the links that can be established among critical social factors such as environment, sustainable development and health. The aim of establishing such connections is to identify frameworks and policies through which changes in the environment can be created so as to contribute to human exposures. The individual health is mainly affected by the host of the environmental factors to which he or she is exposed. From the study by Corvalán, Kjellstrom and Smith (1999) it can be concluded that the health effects result from combination of the environmental effects to which the individuals are exposed. To attain a sustainable health framework for developing relevant policies and strategies there is a need to integrate all the relevant environmental and developmental factors that relate to the offering of health. Sustainable development can be for instance seen to be based on a healthy population that are not only productive but are economically easier to keep due to reduced costs of medications and healthcare. Children’s health is therefore affected not only by the forces in the environment but also through the various processes aimed at achieving sustainable development by the various governmental agencies. It can therefore be seen that sustained health benefits can only be attained when an integrated approach is applied. Investing in the health of the people especially of the children and their environment can thus be seen to as essential in achieving a sustainable development in any country especially in the 21st
The children health is further being affected by the political will that exists at both the national and international levels as well as the societal barriers that impede the implementation of various health policies that are aimed at availing access of health to the children. It is evident that the solutions that ignore the root causes and underlying inequalities as well as the power relations are not likely to be feasible in solving the problems that are impacting on the health of children globally.

Impact of Economics on Global Children Health Priorities and Interventions

According to Were et al. (2015) the global community should increase the investment on children health to enable addressing the emerging health agenda while ensuring that the policies that are available are sufficient enough to solve the various problems. The priorities and interventions aimed at addressing children health issues can be seen to be the responsibilities of various national and international agencies as well as other relevant stakeholders who seek to ensure that the various children health objectives are maintained according to the established policies and frameworks.
Economics affect all the health decisions that have to be made regarding the state of the wellbeing of the children. Wiseman et al. (2016) opine that policy makers in lower income and lower-middle income are increasing looking for methods that are based on evidence that can be employed in the processes that are aimed at developing health priorities and interventions. Such evidence-based frameworks can be noted to incorporate economic evaluation models so as to set health priorities that are not only cost-effective but also sustainable in the long run. One of the methods that are used in such evaluations include the assessment of the cost-effectiveness of any intervention that is proposed for.

Notions of Needs for Global Children

The notion of health may differ from one region to the other based on what is considered by the relevant stakeholders as the main factors that essential aspects of health. Since children present the future generations it can be noted that the health of children is considered one of the main concerns for many societies around the world. The health needs of kids in disadvantaged populations can be seen to arise from the fact that such children lack access to high quality health service as a basic need. Some of the needs can be seen to address prevention and cure of certain diseases and infections such as malaria, measles, typhoid, cholera, tuberculosis and others. The complexity of the health needs of the children can be used to refer to the fact that children may require high levels of physiological, psychological and social care in which various countries around the world. Other perceptions of health encompass provision of proper nutrition to the children so as to avoid or prevent diseases that arise due to nutrients deficiencies in the body. Proper nutritional needs are also useful for managing conditions such as obesity and overweight that is mainly noted with children living in high income countries.

Health Determinants and Inequalities and Complexities of Children Health

Health determinants are essential for establishing frameworks upon which equitable access to health and medical services can be made. Various studies have established that the health determinants affect the children almost similarly in all countries of the world (Solar and Irwin 2007). It can thus be noted that the children in low-income countries are in most cases at risk of being affect certain communicable diseases as compared to the kids in developed countries. As a publication aimed at presenting a WHO conceptual framework for social determinants of health Solar and Irwin (2007) assert that complexity defines health especially due to globalization. The complexities have therefore made the international health agendas to move between a focus on public health interventions and technology-based medical care as well as an understanding of health as a social phenomenon that requires more complex forms of inter-sectoral policy action. Heath can therefore be framed as a topic of social justice (Chinkin 2006, p. 52).
The significance of social determinants of health (SDH) is further emphasized by Huang, Cheng and Theise (2013) who suggest that individual’s health are largely affected by SDH. The authors define SDH as a complex interplay of economic and social systems as well as the social and structural conditions in which people live and work and therefore have a significant impact on the lives of the people who live and work in such cases. According to Huang, Cheng and Theise (2013) SDH are shaped by income, power, education and the resources that are available at local, national and international levels. Examples of SDH include but not limited to health services, education, conditions for early childhood development, daily living environments, social networks and economic and social conditions of communities. The listed social determinants of health have been recognized as the reason for the occurrence of national and global health disparities and inequities. The inequities arise from the listed SDH since in most cases there is inequitable distribution of resources by individuals in any given society.
The school as a social context can act as a SDH. Since children spend considerable amount of time in schools they are most likely to have their knowledge, attitudes, health outcomes and behaviors shaped by the school environment. Children who are enrolled in poorly equipped schools with possibility of violence as well as lack of adequate health resources are most likely to develop poor mental and physical health in their lives. Racial/ethnic minorities are other factors that lead to the disparities and health inequities that are observed in many schools in countries around the world. The disparities and realities of the global child health inequities are within the limits of moral communities. It can be observed that it is of interest and international duties to eliminate the disparities that are encountered in the health of children as described by Denburg (2010). At the same time it should be observed that there is a collective rights responsibilities and regarding the health disparities faced by the children in a global settings. The international obligation as a collective right for health assistance is supported by a study by Meier and Fox (2010) who assert that there is a boundary between international power and the responsibilities held by the state towards the reduction of disparities that exists in health settings.
A study by Ruger (2006) assert that ethical challenges are bound to occur in the event that there is persistent inequalities in children global health since international and national values aimed at resolving disparities should be deeply rooted in strong ethical values of the communities of interest. The research by Ruger (2006) that seeks to understand why global health inequalities present moral dilemmas also seek to justify why the efforts that are aimed at reducing the health inequalities are ethical. The ethical values can be seen to have an intrinsic power to motivate, delineate duties and responsibilities and principles while holding the national and international actors about their responsibilities in achieving the outlined goals. However a problem is observed in the fact that there is no moral framework upon which the problems that are related to global health justice can be solved.

Health Protection

Health protection is considered one of the most fundamental human rights in the world. Countries and governments globally are also obliged by certain international laws to offer the appropriate healthcare to their citizens. According to Heymann et al. (2013) United Nations member states have universally recognized the right to health protection at the international level. The authors however argue that health protection usually remains partial and inactive at the national level in which the countries and governments may be slow to enact the various legislative and legal frameworks to enforce health protection policies adequately. The study by Heymann et al. (2013) examines the constitutional adoption of the laws that are meant to offer health protection to population in various countries at the national level. Protection of health is an essential role of the governments who must enact suitable laws and regulations to ensure that the citizens are exposed to accessible, available and affordable healthcare. Quality and affordable medical services can therefore be observed as some of the major foundations of health protection both in the international and at national levels. At the international level agencies such as the UN and WHO are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the health of all individuals are protected.

Global Child Health Advocacy

The advocacy for global children health can be seen to be undertaken by various institutions and organizations that seek to formulate and implement initiatives that are aimed at improving the health and the overall wellbeing of the children in places around the world. International bodies such as WHO and the United Nations therefore partner with the various stakeholders such as the nursing organizations and other health non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to champion for equitable access to the health services by all individuals regardless of their status in life. The advocacy for global children health there is based on the essence that all the children should access high quality healthcare regardless of their status and should not be denied access to care due to lack of financial resources or due to economic constraints. The advocacy is not only committed to the treatment of the diseases or the injuries of children but should also be committed to creation of an environment in which diseases can be prevented from being caused. Total elimination of the negative social determinants of health can be as one of the major goals of many institutions so as to provide healthcare to all the children in the world. Targeted advocacy and strategic partnerships and through acting as a platform on which key issues can be convened allows promotion of equitable and sustained progresses on the children’s health at both the international and national levels.

Global Child Health Rights

The right to health can be seen to be closely related to the other fundamental human rights. Health is considered vital to all human beings in the world. The right to health provides all the children with the utmost right to timely and appropriate health services in the event of any disease or illness. Such rights requires a proper establishment of a system that can be used to for health protection as well as a strategy for enabling access to essential medicines that can be used in treatment of various disease conditions. Countries are therefore required to put in place health services that are available, accessible, and affordable and of satisfactory quality. The services must conform to the medical ethics while adhering to the various cultural and biological standards as per the requirement in any given country.
At the same time it can be noted that right to health also entails awareness and campaigns aimed at preventing injury and diseases to the children around the world. Prevention plays an essential role in children health. Children are therefore seen to have right to vaccination campaigns that play vital role in the preventing certain diseases. According to WHO estimates vaccinations helps to avert up to 2 to 3 child deaths every year from diseases such as measles, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) globally. Further estimation indicates that 19.4 million infants still do not have an access to basic immunization services globally while it is evident that additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided with proper immunization. The effectiveness of vaccines is noted in the fact that they are fairly cheap and can protect the children from the risk of death and disabilities caused by certain diseases and infections that can be prevented. The right of the children to health is further justified from the fact that healthy children grow into productive adults while the kids who enjoy a state of wellbeing experiences faster growth and development.


Global health perspectives of children are centered on improving access to quality health services that is available and affordable. As such children health is one of the major concerns for global entities such as World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations aiming at providing utmost protection and advocacy of the various health issues that are affecting the children.


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