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Child Health Indicators for Europe
A priority for a caring society

Michael J. Rigby, Lennart I. Köhler, Mitch E. Blair, Reli Metchler
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/13.suppl_1.38 38-46 First published online: 1 September 2003


Background: Measurement of children's health is important for two reasons: first, because young people are citizens in their own right, yet largely unable to act as self-advocates, particularly at the population level; and second, because their health determines the health of the future population. Indicators based on measurements of child health are important for identifying progress, problems and priorities, changes over time, and newly emergent issues. The European Community Health Monitoring Programme (HMP) is a comprehensive programme to develop and implement a set of national-level indicators. The Child Health Indicators of Life and Development (CHILD) project is the only population group-specific project, seeking to determine a holistic set of measures. Methods: The project endeavoured to address all aspects of child health and its determinants, balancing positive and negative aspects. It undertook a structured search of published evidence to seek to identify, and validate, indicators of health and illness, health determinants and challenges to health, quality of healthcare support and health-promoting national policies. A systematic approach was used in identifying valid indicators, and in assembling a balanced composite list. All ages from infancy to adolescence were covered. Results: The project's final report identifies 38 core desirable national indicators, citing purpose and evidence for each. Of equal importance, it also identifies 17 key child health topics on which further research work is needed in order to identify and validate indicators appropriate across different national settings.

  • child health, health determinants, health indicators, health measurement