The Health of New Zealand Children 2011/12

Key findings of the New Zealand Health Survey

Published online: 
12 December 2012

Summary

The report ‘The Health of New Zealand Children 2011/12’ presents key findings about children's health and access to health services in 2011/12. These statistics come from the New Zealand Health Survey.

You can download the report and the data tables from the Downloads section of this page. Results are available by sex, age group, ethnic group and neighbourhood deprivation.

These statistics are supplemented by the Regional results from the 2011-2012 New Zealand Health Survey

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There is a separate survey report about adults.

If you have any queries please email hdi@moh.govt.nz.

Overview of key results

This section summarises key findings from the report, for the following topics:

Good news

  • Almost all children (98%) are in good health, according to their parents.
  • Fewer children are being given solid food before four months of age.
  • More children under 6 years are getting free GP visits.

Areas for improvement

  • The child obesity rate has increased since 2006/07.
  • Although most children were able to access health care when they needed to, one in five children had an unmet need for primary health care in the past year.
  • Children with poorer health and more unmet need for health care included: Māori, Pacific, and children living in more deprived areas.

Health behaviours

Improving trend in the age at which infants are given solid food

  • Fewer children are given solid food before four months of age (10%) than in 2006/07 (16%).

Most children eat breakfast at home every day

  • 87% of children ate breakfast at home every day in the past week.

More than half of children watch 2+ hours of TV each day

  • 53% of children watched TV for two or more hours every day.

Obesity is becoming more common in children

  • The child obesity rate has increased from 8% in 2006/07, to 10% in 2011/12 (in children aged 2–14 years).  
  • A further 21% of children were overweight (but not obese).  

Health status and conditions

Asthma remains a common health condition in childhood

  • One in seven (14%) children aged 2–14 years takes medication for asthma.  This has not changed since 2006/07.  

Diagnosed emotional and behavioural problems have increased

  • In 2011/12, 3.2% of children aged 2–14 years had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder or behavioural problems (ADHD/ADD).  This rate increased from 1.8% in 2006/07.  

Use of primary health care

More children under six years have had a free GP visit

  • 83% of children under six years had no charge at their last GP visit. This rate has increased from 67% in 2006/07.
  • For over half of all children (55%), their last GP visit at a GP clinic, medical centre or family practice was free.  
  • 26% of children had visited a practice nurse without seeing a GP at the same visit in the past 12 months.
  • 22% of children had visited an after-hours medical centre in the past 12 months.

Unmet need for health care

Most children were able to access health care

  • However, 20% of children had an unmet need for primary health care in the past 12 months.  
  • The most common reasons for the unmet need were:
    • being unable to get an appointment at their usual medical centre within 24 hours (14%)
    • unmet GP need due to cost (5%)
    • unmet need for after-hours services due to cost (5%).
  • Unmet need for primary health care was more common among Māori and Pacific children.

Some children miss out on prescriptions due to cost

  • 7% of children missed out on one or more prescription items in the past 12 months due to cost.
  • The rate was similar for children aged under six years, for whom most prescriptions are free.
  • Unfilled prescriptions due to cost were much more common among Māori and Pacific children, and children living in more deprived areas.

Oral health

Most children had a dental visit in the past 12 months

  • About 90% of children aged 5–14 years had visited a dental health care worker in the past 12 months.  Children aged 1–4 years were less likely (52%) to have had a dental visit.  
  • 4% of children had had a tooth removed due to decay, abscess or infection in the past year. This is about 34,000 children.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    12 December 2012
  • ISBN:
    978-0-478-40217-9 (print), 978-0-478-40220-9 (online)
  • HP number:
    5591
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. 2012. The Health of New Zealand Children: Key findings of the New Zealand Health Survey 2011/12. Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:
    Owned by the Ministry of Health and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.
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