Child welfare mainly good but problems mounting
Health promotion for children and young people demands a broad based approach between different sections of society, according to a conference held in Helsinki in early April to look at child and youth issues related to the Health 2015 public health programme. Some 450 people from all over Finland took part in the conference.
Findings presented at the conference suggest that the health of young infants is excellent by international standards. Trends in youth tobacco, alcohol and drug use have taken a positive turn, with an appreciable drop in risky behaviour by young people. Overall, the situation of children and young people was rated highly.
But the situation of some groups in the population is less rosy. The rate of child and youth obesity has increased. Symptoms and diseases related to insecurity, such as mental health and social developmental disorders, have also become more common.
There are also now more children in various kinds of care. Social exclusion among children and young people is often rooted in the breakdown of families, and drug, alcohol and mental health problems of parents. Increasing alcohol consumption is also to blame.
The conference discussed ways to improve cross-sector collaboration to create better preconditions to safeguard the situation of the young. It looked at the work carried out at municipal level butalso discussed the need to ensure that special services are organised on a regional basis to pool resources among a wider range of authorities.