Friday, September 4, 2020

Children in richest countries face obesity, lack of skills –UN

 ...as Denmark, Netherlands, Norway tops list of worst place for a child

Too many children in the world ’ s richest countries lack basic mathematics and reading skills , and suffer from poor mental well- being and obesity, according to a UNICEF report published on Thursday.

The report ranks 41 European Union and Organisation for Economic Co -operation and Development countries on children ’ s health , skills , and happiness.

Denmark, the Netherlands , and Norway top the league table , while Bulgaria , Chile, and the U. S . are ranked the worst places to be a child among high -income countries.

According to UNICEF, around 20 per cent of children do not have high life satisfaction in most affluent countries.

Turkey fares worst , with only 53 per cent of children having high life satisfaction , followed by Japan and Britain .

Lithuania has the highest rate of adolescent suicide , followed by New Zealand and Estonia.

In terms of physical health, around one in three children are obese or overweight , with rates in Southern Europe sharply rising .

About 40 per cent of children in rich countries lack basic reading and Maths skills by age 15, with those in Bulgaria , Romania , and Chile the least proficient , UNICEF said .

While the report used data from before the coronavirus pandemic , it warned that the crisis posed a substantial threat to child well -being .

“ Many of the world ’ s richest countries – which have the resources they need to provide good childhoods for all – are failing children , ” UNICEF Innocenti director Gunilla Olsson said .

“ Unless governments take rapid and decisive action to protect child well -being as part of their pandemic responses , we can continue to expect soaring child poverty rates , deteriorating mental and physical health, and a deepening skill divide among children, ” Olsson added .

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