Sex, Drugs and Broccoli Highlighted in Peel Public Health's New Report on Child Health
(Brampton) - Sexual health, tobacco, alcohol and drug use, and obesity in Peel's
children and youth are three of the 11 issues examined in the Peel Public Health's
new report, Child
Health Report 2002.
The report, which demonstrates Peel children enjoy relatively good health by
provincial and national standards, uncovers some disturbing trends.
"Illicit drug use is on the rise, childhood obesity is escalating at an
alarming rate and only two of every three sexually active teens always use a
condom," says Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the Region
In 2001, one-third of Ontario students in grades 7-13 used an illicit drug
in the past year. Cannabis was the most commonly used illicit drug, followed
by hallucinogens, non-medicinal stimulants, ecstacy and solvents. Cannabis use
more than doubled, from 13 per cent of teens in 1993 to 29 per cent in 2001.
Ecstasy use increased substantially, from 0.6 per cent in 1993 to six per cent
In Peel, rates of gonorrhea and chlamydia - two of the most common sexually
transmitted diseases - increased among teens between 1997 and 2000. In 1996/97,
31 per cent of Peel teens engaged in sexual intercourse in the past 12 months.
In the same period, 28 per cent of Ontario teens had two or more sexual partners
and only 63 per cent always used a condom.
Childhood obesity is rapidly becoming a significant health concern across Canada.
As of 1996, 29 per cent of Canadian girls and 35 per cent of Canadian boys aged
7-13 years were overweight. "Children and youth are eating fewer fruits
and vegetables, and exercising less," continues McKeown. Lack of physical
activity and poor nutrition are important risk factors for obesity.
While the Child Health Report 2002 makes use of a wide variety of data, a number
of important gaps in Peel-specific information are apparent. These gaps will
need to be addressed in future if a comprehensive picture of child health is
The Child Health Report 2002 is one of a series of reports highlighting key
health issues and trends in the Region of Peel. The information in these reports
is intended to help chart a course to better health for all residents of Peel.
The Region of Peel is a diverse community of nearly one million people, and
is one of the largest public health regions in Canada.
For more information on the Child Health Report 2002, call Health Line Peel
at 905-799-7700 or visit www.region.peel.on.ca