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Scand J Public Health. 2007;35(3):313-22.

Child health in Greenland.

Author information

  • 1District Medical Clinic, Nuuk, Greenland. niclasen@greennet.gl



To review the knowledge on child health and child health problems in Greenland.


The review was based on theses, national statistics, national and international reports, and a search in Pub Med, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and WHOLIB databases from 1985 to 2005. The resulting articles were sorted by topic, type, quality of study, and relevance for child health today, providing 47 articles.


Children in Greenland have become taller and have improved their general health. The morbidity found in Greenlandic children is similar to that found elsewhere even though the magnitude of problems might differ. The child mortality is relatively high and unevenly distributed. The acute disease pattern is dominated by infections, mostly airway infections. Otitis and its sequelae is a problem. An increase in chronic conditions such as atopy, asthma, obesity, and disabilities has taken place. Overweight and obesity have tripled in 20 years and are a health threat as well as constituting negative health behaviour. Social ill health, socioeconomic inequity, and sociocultural changes also influence health but their consequences are not well investigated in children.


A relatively high child mortality but the same morbidity pattern as in other Western societies was found. Negative health behaviour is frequent in schoolchildren. The influence of rapid cultural changes, and familial and societal factors related to social ill health, together with socioeconomic inequity, are of major importance to the health of children in Greenland. More accurate data on child health are necessary in the future to secure better prioritization. It is suggested to construct a set of reliable indicators of child health in Greenland to monitor the health of children on a national and regional basis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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