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Children's Health

A section of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

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Children and their health is a pair sometimes difficult to disentangle. Many risk factors do exist, sometimes they are modifiable, like all risk factors with a behavioral component, and sometimes not, like gender. Causal pathways are not always clear, most of the times because of the design of the study; but sometimes – to the researcher’s great pleasure–such pathways are visible, or at least a part is visible. Sometimes the risk factors are age-dependent: they do not work similar at every time in life.

Where to start with disentangling children and health? We could start with modifiable risk factors not known so very well. Furthermore, we could try to get more grip on the way risk factors are working by introducing mediation. In addition, we could try to do a study with a longitudinal design, or combine findings in a trend analysis. We should keep in mind that decision-makers require new knowledge to be of assistance for children and health systems managing these risk factors. These health systems can be those, which were not defined as such before, like schools or municipalities.

Thus, research and practice needed at local to international scales include:

* Elaborate causal pathways relating changes in children’s health;
* Quantify associations between children’s health behaviors and their health outcomes;
* If possible, come with trend analyses;
* Show local best practices (such as sugar tax levied by a national government; a prohibition of energy drinks in a certain surrounding around a school; more gym in competing obesity by a school);
* Also show local not working practices (your colleague then knows what not to do);
* The age of the children related to their health behaviors;
* Examine challenges and opportunities for multi-sectoral adaptation partnerships that benefit children health;
* Identify, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of the school’s policies and programs;
* Estimate the range of health co-benefits of mitigation policies on health behaviour.

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