Measuring the Health of Infants, Children and Youth for Public Health in Ontario: Indicators, Gaps and Recommendations for Moving Forward charts a path forward for population health assessment and surveillance in infants, children and youth for the public health sector in Ontario.
Ontario is home to nearly 3.1 million infants, children and youth aged 0 to 19 years, yet the province lacks a coordinated system to monitor their health. Population health assessment and surveillance activities specifically tailored to children are critical. To date, few child health status reports have been produced at the provincial level. A comprehensive data collection system and set of common indicator definitions do not exist for the public health sector in Ontario.
The results of this report highlight a strong foundation of ready-to-report Core Indicators produced by the Association of Public Health Epidemiologists in Ontario that can be used to measure child health.
Sixty-seven Core Indicators that correspond to requirements of the Ontario Public Health Standards may be reported on now, while an additional twelve relevant Core Indicators require expanded data sources or definitions for infants, children or youth. The greatest need for indicator development is in the areas of breastfeeding, exposure to ultraviolet radiation, growth and development, healthy eating, healthy family dynamics, healthy weights and positive parenting.
Based on the results, 10 system-level recommendations actionable by Public Health Ontario in collaboration with key partners are presented to demonstrate the breadth and depth of work that is needed to advance population health assessment and surveillance for children in the province and to provide steps for moving forward.
Recognizing the importance of forming strong partnerships with other sectors that have a stake in child health, we hope to foster the necessary commitment to advance a coordinated, province-wide population health assessment and surveillance system for children in Ontario.