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July 21, 2004
For immediate release

New Report Indicates PEI Children are Doing Well

Health and Social Services

Compared to children in other provinces, PEI children are doing very well based on national indicators of child health and well-being.

According to a report released today by the Premier’s Council on Healthy Child Development, PEI leads the country in several areas of child health such as healthy birthweights, positive personal and social behaviour and low rates of hospitalization for childhood injury.

Premier Binns said Islanders should be encouraged by the information in the third annual report on PEI’s children. “Our young children are doing very well in many key areas of development and this reflects well on our young families as well as our health, social and early childhood education programs,” said the Premier. “The report provides us with valuable information on where we are doing well and where we need to improve. We acknowledge the excellent work of the Premier’s Council and the many others who are working hard to give Island children a good start in life.”

Premier’s Council chair, Dr. David Wong, advised that the report compares the progress of Prince Edward Island children in their first five years to children across the country based on physical development, safety and security, social and emotional development, family and community-related indicators.

The report also highlights current children’s initiatives which support the goals of the provincial healthy child development strategy and funding provided to PEI programs through the federal/provincial Early Childhood Development Initiative. “By monitoring the progress of our children, we are providing direction for governments and communities to work together for children,” said Dr. Wong. “Issues such as smoking during pregnancy and childhood obesity require an integrated government and community response. We are fortunate in our small province to be able to connect and work together effectively for children through our provincial healthy child development strategy.”

The role of the Premier’s Council on Healthy Child Development is to advise the Premier on issues affecting PEI children and how they are being addressed. Members of the Premier's Council on Healthy Child Development include Dr. David Wong, chair, Jane Craswell, Debbie Montgomery, Charles Sark, B.J. Willis, Alice Taylor and Cindy Shepard.

The report is available online at



Prince Edward Island Premier’s Council on Healthy Child Development

Indicators where PEI leads the country:

• Lowest percentage of pre-term births (PEI 5.8%, Canada 7.5%)

• Smallest proportion of low birthweight babies (PEI 4.3%, Canada 7.5%)

• Lowest rate of hospitalization for childhood injury per 100,000 (PEI 353, Canada 430)

• Lowest rate of hyperactivity/inattention (PEI 10.8%, Canada 15.1%)

• Highest rate of children demonstrating positive personal and social behaviour (PEI 93.2%, Canada 84%)

• Lowest proportion of families with a high level of dysfunction (PEI 8.3%, Canada 11.3%)

• Fewest concerns about low neighbourhood cohesion (PEI 6.4%, Canada 14.1%)

• No reported cases of measles, invasive meningoccocal disease or Hib disease 1998-2001

• Second best score for neighbourhood safety (PEI 19.8%, Canada 24.4%)

• Third lowest rate of high emotional problems (PEI 16.1%, Canada 17.8%)

Indicators where PEI is similar to the Canadian average:

• Similar levels of average motor and social development (PEI 66.5%, Canada 72.6%)

• Similar average of children who exhibit high levels of physical aggression (PEI 11 %, Canada 12.6%)

• Similar levels of language skills in children aged 4 and 5 (PEI 75.4%, Canada 68.8%)

• Similar percentage of children 0-5 living in low income families (PEI 31.8%, Canada 25.5%)

• Similar percentage of children who have a low level of interaction with their parent (PEI 12.6%, Canada 16.1%)

• Very low rate of children whose parent or guardian exhibits symptoms of depression (PEI 7.9%, Canada 10.5%)

• Similar to Canada, PEI’s infant mortality decreased 15% over the past two decades

• Similar levels of mother’s education:

• Less than secondary (PEI 13.6%, Canada 12.1%)

• Secondary school graduate (PEI 16.5%, Canada 16.1%)

• Beyond secondary (PEI 22.7%, Canada 26.5%)

• College or university graduate (PEI 47.2%, Canada 45.3%)

Indicators where PEI scored lower than the Canadian average:

• Largest proportion of high birthweight babies (PEI 19.9%, Canada 13.8%)

• Third lowest rate of breastfeeding (PEI 68%, Canada 79%)

• Highest rate of children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy (PEI 23.9%, Canada 18.5%)

• Lower levels of father’s education:

• Less than secondary (PEI 19.1%, Canada 13.3%)

• Secondary school graduate (PEI 20.2%, Canada 17.6%)

• Beyond secondary (PEI 15.7%, Canada 19.2%)

• College or university graduate (PEI 45%, Canada 49.9%)

Media Contact: Patrick Dorsey
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