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Jurisdictional, socioeconomic and gender inequalities in child health and development: analysis of a national census of 5-year-olds in Australia

Brinkman, Sally A., Gialamas, Angela, Rahman, Azizur, Mittinty, Murthy N., Gregory, Tess A., Silburn, Sven R., Goldfeld, Sharon, Zubrick, Stephen R., Carr, Vaughan, Janus, Magdelena, Hertzman, Clyde and Lynch, John W. (2012). Jurisdictional, socioeconomic and gender inequalities in child health and development: analysis of a national census of 5-year-olds in Australia. BMJ Open,2(5):1-14.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID cmartelxPUB29
Title Jurisdictional, socioeconomic and gender inequalities in child health and development: analysis of a national census of 5-year-olds in Australia
Author Brinkman, Sally A.
Gialamas, Angela
Rahman, Azizur
Mittinty, Murthy N.
Gregory, Tess A.
Silburn, Sven R.
Goldfeld, Sharon
Zubrick, Stephen R.
Carr, Vaughan
Janus, Magdelena
Hertzman, Clyde
Lynch, John W.
Journal Name BMJ Open
Publication Date 2012
Volume Number 2
Issue Number 5
ISSN 2044-6055   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84866358351
Start Page 1
End Page 14
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher B M J Group
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Objectives Early child development may have important consequences for inequalities in health and well-being. This paper explores population level patterns of child development across Australian jurisdictions, considering socioeconomic and demographic characteristics.

Design
Census of child development across Australia.

Setting and participants
Teachers complete a developmental checklist, the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), for all children in their first year of full-time schooling. Between May and July 2009, the AEDI was collected by 14 628 teachers in primary schools (government and non-government) across Australia, providing information on 261 147 children (approximately 97.5% of the estimated 5-year-old population).

Outcome measures
Level of developmental vulnerability in Australian children for five developmental domains: physical well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills and communication skills and general knowledge.

Results
The results show demographic and socioeconomic inequalities in child development as well as within and between jurisdiction inequalities. The magnitude of the overall level of inequality in child development and the impact of covariates varies considerably both between and within jurisdiction by sex. For example, the difference in overall developmental vulnerability between the best-performing and worst-performing jurisdiction is 12.5% for males and 7.1% for females. Levels of absolute social inequality within jurisdictions range from 8.2% for females to 12.7% for males.

Conclusions
The different mix of universal and targeted services provided within jurisdictions from pregnancy to age 5 may contribute to inequality across the country. These results illustrate the potential utility of a developmental census to shed light on the impact of differences in universal and targeted services to support child development by school entry.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001075   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Additional Notes This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode


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