Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Starting well and the early years


Table of contents


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The foundations of adult health are laid in early childhood. Poor health as an infant can cast long shadows forward on both childhood and adulthood, increasing the risk of ill health from conditions ranging from asthma to cardiovascular disease later in life. A number of influences shape a child’s development, including genetic makeup, socioeconomic factors, interactions with other caregivers, and early childhood experiences in the family, at school, and in the community. 

This chapter is designed to evaluate whether South Australians are getting the best start in life, from the prenatal period through to adolescence, and whether this is changing over time. 

Chapter 2 first presents information about South Australian mothers, including demographic information, their health experiences during pregnancy and the risk factors they experience.  It then examines measures of infant health, such as low birth weight, congenital abnormalities and rates of breast-feeding.  It also provides an analysis of a range of physical and emotional wellbeing indicators of South Australian children's health. 

Information about South Australians' early years also includes key information about their development and educational outcomes.  These measures can indicate future advantage or disadvantage, ability to develop life skills and attain further education – key elements to future South Australian adults maintaining and managing their own health.


Chapter 2 table of contents

2-0. Summary

2-1. Fertility rate

2-2. Maternal age

2-3. Folate intake

2-4. Pregnancy outcomes

2-5. Birth rate

2-6. Low birthweight

2-7. Caesarean births

2-8. Congenital anomalies

2-9. Childhood developmental health checks

2-10. Childhood immunisation

2-11. Childhood overweight and obesity