Children's environmental health: Why should social disparities be considered?
SourceActa Paediatrica, 95, 453, (2006), pp. 26-30
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectEBP 3: Effective Primary Care and Public Health
Background/Methods: The aim of workpackage 5 'Environmental exposures and children's health: impact of socioeconomic factors' in the EU-funded network PINCHE (Policy Interpretation Network on Children's Health and Environment) was to review and interpret the current knowledge of social inequalities in environmental exposures and children's health. Socioeconomic factors may impact on children's environmental health in two ways: 1) environmental exposures may differ according to socioeconomic status; 2) given a certain level of harmful environmental exposure, socioeconomic factors may modify the health effects by influencing the susceptibility characteristics of children. Results: There is a lack of information to evaluate and quantify the effect of socioeconomic factors on environmental exposures and children's health in Europe. In most circumstances there seems to be an inverse social gradient with increased burden concerning exposures and health outcomes in children of lower social status.Conclusions: There is a need to improve research on social inequalities in children's health and environment. Because of the complexity, integrated approaches and a combination of different intervention measures and policies are necessary to reduce environmental exposure and adverse health effects in children. Paediatricians may contribute to improvement of children's environmental health by risk communication and health advocacy at community and governmental level.
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