204204 Impact of migration on adolescent health and health behaviours in rural Southern China

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:15 PM

Sian Griffiths, FFPH , School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Liping Li, PhD , Injury Prevention Research Center, Medical College, Shantou University, Shantou, Guangdong Province, China
Yang Gao, PhD , School of Public Health, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Background: Studies on the impact of migration on health have mainly focused on international migration and its influence on health care system and health of migrants. Little is known about the health consequences of internal migration, in particular on the health of left behind children (LBC). This study describes the health of LBC among rural schoolchildren in Southern China.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among secondary school students in Fuyang Township, Guangdong, China (2007-2008). Information of health behaviours and demographic characteristics was collected by a self-administered questionnaire. Overweight/obesity and stunting were defined based on measurement of height and weight. Univariate and multivariate analyses were used to estimate the differences in health outcomes between LBC and non-LBC.

Results: 18.1% of the schoolchildren had one or both parents working away from home. Multivariate analysis of health behaviours showed that LBC were at higher risk of skipping breakfast, physical inactivity, excess playing of electronic games, internet addiction, ever and currently smoking, loneliness, unhappiness, suicide ideation, and ideation of leaving home. They were also more likely to be overweight. Left behind girls are more vulnerable to some risk behaviours such as smoking and drinking, and to have emotional problems, whilst the range of health impact of migration on left behind boys is more extensive.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that migration is a risk factor for unhealthy behaviours amongst LBC in China. Further research is required in addition to the consideration of the implications for policies and programmes to protect LBC.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss health impact of migration on children and adolesents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conceived and supervised the study
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.