Report Probes Growing Up In Ireland

The Dáil has been looking at what it means to grow up in modern day Ireland.

The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald today launched the first findings from Growing up in Ireland - the Infant Cohort at 3 Years involving 11,100 three-year-olds and their parents.

Speaking at today's event, the Minister welcomed the publication of these findings and noted how important it is to have a good understanding of what is happening in children's lives.

She said: "This research highlights the heavy economic strain being experienced by families today, which is deeply disturbing. It also shows what we already know on a personal basis, families are finding it very tough to make ends meet.

"The research also shows very positive elements of 3-year-old children’s lives. It is clear that these children in general are in good health, have close and warm relationships with their grandparents and live in a stable family structure.

"Equally there are a number of disturbing findings including: one in four children are overweight or obese, and the clear economic strain being placed on families as a result of the recession."

The Minister also said: "These first longitudinal findings are very important for policymakers, as they allow us to track events across the life of the child. I have asked my Department to examine the trends which are emerging from this study and to ensure that they are central in the relevant policy discussions."

The probe found that almost two thirds (63%) of all families with three-year-olds reported that the recession had had a very significant or significant effect on them and that 61% of families are finding it difficult to “make ends meet”.

The most frequently recorded effects were: a reduction in wages (63%); can’t afford luxuries (54%), social welfare reduction (53%) and can’t afford/cut back on basics (32%).

Most of the children were described as being in good health; 75% were rated as very healthy and a further 23% were rated as healthy, but a few minor problems. Girls were more likely to be reported as very healthy (78%) compared with boys (72%).

One in four or almost one quarter of three-year-old children were overweight (19%) or obese (6%).

The latest results from the study offers important information on how these families are faring across a range of areas in their lives including their health, family life and financial and economic circumstances.

The study gives us important information on what is happening in the lives of three year olds and their families and paints the picture of key trends in children's development over time.


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