Canadian children and youth are culturally and linguistically diverse, bringing many different strengths, attributes and needs to their communities. Overall, children and youth who are recent immigrants fare well in Canada in terms of health status. However, the overall population of immigrant and refugee children and youth is not homogeneous – and certain groups of immigrant children and youth fare better than others. Immigrant and refugee children and youth also have unique attributes and needs that our systems should recognize and address. These needs may require specific interventions such as vaccinations or screening tests to prevent diseases. They may require increased community, professional and public awareness regarding issues that may arise due to cultural or medical ‘discordance’. Discordance can include differences in values, culture, parental expectations, preventative health care, lifestyle or other factors.
This module describes immigrant and refugee children and youth up to 24 years of age in Canada and their overall health status. It specifically identifies priority preventable conditions and diseases among immigrant and refugee children and youth and explores the question of cultural discordance and how this might influence their health and well-being.
A number of factors influence the lives that immigrant and refugee children and youth will lead in Canada. Among these are their country of origin, their reason for emigrating, the location of their new home in Canada, and their age upon arrival. This section explores these factors and illustrates the diversity of children and youth who are new to Canada.
1.1 Number and Proportion of Immigrant Children and Youth
1.2 Children and Youth and Categories of Immigration
1.3 Children and Youth & Regions and Countries of Origin
1.4 Refugee Children and Youth
1.5 Immigrant Children and Youth Who Are in Visible Minority Groups
Examining the health status of immigrant children and youth is complex. Their health is influenced by many factors − biology; genetics; their experience and living conditions in their home country; their physical, social, and economic living conditions in Canada; and their access to services, including health and resettlement services. This section explores the general health status of immigrant children and youth in Canada using a variety of indicators.
2.1 General Health Status
2.2 Mental Health
2.2.1Proportion of Youth, 12-19, Who Reported Their Mental Health as Excellent/Very Good, 2011-2012
2.2.3School and Mental Health
2.3 Overweight and Obesity
2.4 Health Behaviours
2.5 Health Insurance
The data in section 2 show that overall, the health of immigrant children and youth in Canada is on par or slightly better than that of their Canadian born counterparts. However, within the overall population of immigrant children and youth, certain sub-groups are at increased risk of various threats to their health and well-being. The prevalence of disease differs with exposure, migration patterns, living conditions, and genetic predispositions. The priority health conditions among immigrant children and youth were based on the evidence-based Canadian Immigrant Health Guidelines.
3.2 Child Maltreatment
3.3 Vaccine Preventable Disease
3.3.1Why Are Vaccinations for Common Childhood Diseases Important for Immigrant & Refugee Children?
3.4 Dental Health among Immigrant Children and Youth
3.4.2Children/Youth Who Have Consulted a Dentist/Orthodontist in the Last Year, by Age & Immigrant status
3.5 Intestinal Parasites Affecting Immigrant Children and Youth
3.6 Anemia among Immigrant Children and Youth
3.7 Malaria and Tuberculosis and Immigrant Children and Youth
3.8 Vision Health and Immigrant Children and Youth
This section describes cultural discordance – the perceived conflict between a child’s or youth’s culture of origin and the Canadian culture into which he or she has been immersed. It also describes the various repercussions that children and youth may face as a result of this discordance.