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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1170;

Housing as a Determinant of Tongan Children’s Health: Innovative Methodology Using Wearable Cameras

Health Promotion & Policy Research Unit, University of Otago, 6242 Wellington, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 September 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 28 September 2017 / Published: 4 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing and Health)
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Housing is a significant determinant of health, particularly in developing countries such as Tonga. Currently, very little is known about the quality of the housing in Tonga, as is the case with many developing countries, nor about the interaction between children and the home environment. This study aimed to identify the nature and extent of health risk factors and behaviours in Tongan houses from a child’s perspective. An innovative methodology was used, Kids’Cam Tonga. Seventy-two Class 6 children (10 to 13-year-olds) were randomly selected from 12 randomly selected schools in Tongatapu, the main island. Each participating child wore a wearable camera on lanyards around their neck. The device automatically took wide-angled, 136° images of the child’s perspective every seven seconds. The children were instructed to wear the camera all day from Friday morning to Sunday evening, inclusive. The analysis showed that the majority of Tongan children in the study live in houses that have structural deficiencies and hazards, including water damage (42%), mould (36%), and electrical (89%) and burn risk factors (28%). The findings suggest that improvements to the housing stock may reduce the associated health burden and increase buildings’ resilience to natural hazards. A collaborative approach between communities, community leaders, government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is urgently needed. This research methodology may be of value to other developing countries. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tonga; housing; children; health impact Tonga; housing; children; health impact

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Robinson, A.; Hulme-Moir, S.; Puloka, V.; Smith, M.; Stanley, J.; Signal, L. Housing as a Determinant of Tongan Children’s Health: Innovative Methodology Using Wearable Cameras. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1170.

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