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March President's Blog

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March President's Blog

In December 2015, RCH published its first Child Health Poll that reflected what adults perceive as the biggest problems children face. In the overall review, most notably listed as first was "excessive" screen time, followed by obesity, lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet and bullying rounded out the Top 5. Issues such as illegal drug use, family violence, internet safety and suicide rounded out the Top 10. 

Yet, if you read further into the study, there is a breakdown by age groupings and income. The Top 5 List changed dramatically based upon income and age groups.  If the family income was less than $1000 a week, the primary issue was illegal drugs; yet, that category didn't appear at all in the Top 5 if the income was over $1000 a week. When information was broken down by age groups, two additional categories appeared in the Top 5; Anxiety/Stress and Internet safety. These categories appeared as early as age groups of 6-12 years old and ranked higher in ages over 13 years old.  

Why is this important? 

It reminds us that the life cycle of a child is dramatic. Most physical and emotional life changes happen in the first 18 years even if they don't suffer from an illness, disease or impairment. This poll is designed to be continuously conducted in 3 month intervals. Understanding the community perception on children's health issues in this manner offers an almost "real time" view which can be utilised to gauge and improve strategies regarding children's health. It is this type of innovative thinking that makes the RCH exciting! For AWA's purposes, I think it offers a tremendous insight into children's health issues in Australia from a community perspective. A community in which we find ourselves and our families.

AWA has been a part of RCH history for over 80 years. Whether it be through fundraising, community support for each other as expats or involvement with other community projects, AWA Members have been a positive part of the landscape in Melbourne for generations. It may be that our individual contributions are limited by our time here; however, we are a part of something larger the more we contribute to our "Home Away From Home." I had an elderly aunt when I was very young, constantly reminding me that it's everyone's job to make wherever you go, a little bit better because you were there and to look for the little things, because those will always matter most. Whether it's fundraising, volunteering, mentoring new expats, or joining the social groups, I think AWA offers everyone a chance to leave that positive footprint with every step we take.  

Our General Member's Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 17, 2016 at the RCH Foundation, 48 Flemington Road, Level 2. Parking passes will be available to park at the RCH. Agenda and start time will be forthcoming. On behalf of the AWA Board we look forward to seeing all of your faces at the General Meeting!               

-Paula Appelhans 

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