Developmental Health Knowledge as a Catalyst for Healthy Family Policies in Canada

While Canadians have invested heavily in areas such as health care and education for years, the country has fallen behind in terms of providing resources for our children. Approximately 27% of kindergarten-aged children in Canada do not have all the developmental assets they need to thrive both upon entering school and into the future (Kershaw, Irwin, Trafford & Hertzman, 2005; Willms, 2002).

Public health actors are increasingly aware of the impact this situation can have on the health of Canadians, young and old, in the short and the long term. This briefing note presents a definition of developmental health, discusses the social determinants of developmental health, shows some key figures for Canada and suggests a healthy public family policy framework to support developmental health.

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