Growing Up in Australia Annual Statistical Report 2017

Growing Up in Australia Annual Statistical Report 2017

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Growing up in Australia is a nationally representative,
longitudinal study of child development. Every two years we have collected information
on the children to learn about aspects of their lives at different ages and stages. This information helps researchers and policy
makers better understand child development within Australia’s social, economic and
cultural environment. Here’s a sneak peak at this year’s report.
Starting at home. Most children are growing up in a house owned
by their parents. Apartments and townhouses are increasing in
Urban areas and the percentage of families who rent their homes has increased.
For most families, the costs associated with housing are their largest expense. Families with below average income who pay
30% or more on housing costs are experiencing housing affordability stress. Families who
rent are more likely to be experiencing housing affordability stress than those paying off
mortgages. Early education contributes to children’s
physical, social, emotional, cognitive and communication development, supporting their
readiness for school. At ages 3 or 4 children who attended two years
of preschool found it easier to transition to school than those who hadn’t attended
kindergarten or long day care. As children become adolescents, their friends
become an important source of support and advice. By ages 14–15 nearly three-quarters of adolescents had
sought help from a friend. Friendships that are positive, respectful
and encouraging are protective for young people through the ups and downs of the teenage years.
Many young people reported having good friends they could rely on; however, family remains
the preferred source of support and advice for personal and emotional problems over formal
services, including online. Also every second teenager with mental health
issues reported they were aware of and likely to seek help from health professionals. Kids and food. It can be complicated. Negative attitudes and problematic eating
behaviours can represent a risk for the later development of eating disorders, poor mental
health, social engagement and school performance. The picture that is emerging is that 14–15-yr-olds’ desire to control their weight can be traced back to ages 10 and 11. Their attitudes
towards healthy eating, activity and body weight are being misinformed by a range of
media promoting unhelpful stereotypes. Every child deserves to have a happy healthy
start to life. The data collected for Growing Up in Australia informs policy makers and
researchers about children’s development in Australia’s current economic, social and
cultural environment.

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