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N Am J Med Sci. 2009 Sep;1(4):160-8. doi: 10.4297/najms.2009.4160.

Childhood health in Jamaica: changing patterns in health conditions of children 0-14 years.

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  • 1Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica.



The new thrust by WHO is healthy life expectancy. Therefore, health must be more than morbidity. It is within this framework that a study on childhood health in Jamaica is of vital importance.


This study 1) expands the health literature in Jamaica and by extension the Caribbean, 2) will aid public health practitioners with research findings upon which they are able to further improve the quality of life of children, 3) investigates the age at with children in Jamaica become influenced by particular chronic diseases and 4) assesses the subjective wellbeing of children.


The current study extracted a sample of 8,373 and 2,104 children 0-14 years from two surveys collected jointly by the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Statistics Institute of Jamaica for 2002 and 2007 respectively. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data.


Ninety-one percent of children in Jamaica, for 2007, reported good health. The number of children who had diarrhea fell by 84.2% in 2007 over 2002, and a similar reduction was observed for those with asthma (42.1% in 2002 and 19.7% in 2007). Another critical finding was that 1.2% of children, in 2007, had diabetes mellitus compared to none in 2002.


Public health now has an epidemiological profile of health conditions of children and the demographic shifts which are occurring and this can be used for effective management and planning of the new health reality of the Jamaican child.


Child health; epidemiology; health conditions; public health

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