Poorer Children More Prone to Ill-Health, Academic Failure

      May 04, 2015 08:20

      The income of parents has a measurable effect on the mental health and academic performance of children, according to data from ChildFund Korea.

      The lower the parent's income, the worse the health of the child. The study was conducted from May to December of last year of 4,327 elementary schoolchildren across the nation and focused on physical and mental health.

      The income of parents impacted their children's height, confidence and mental state. The average height of children whose parents earned less than W11 million (US$1=W1,075) per year or the bottom 25 percent wage bracket was 135 cm. But the average height of children whose parents earned between W21 million and W93 million, the upper 25 percent wage bracket was 137 cm.

      Some 6.1 percent of children from low-income families were obese, compared to just 3.5 percent from richer households. Among sixth graders, 39.7 percent from low-income families said they contemplated suicide, compared to 33.1 percent of richer kids.

      There was a close correlation between the educational levels of parents and the health of children. Obesity was less common among children of well-educated parents, while depression and self-esteem were also lower.

      The educational level of mothers had an impact on depression and suicidal tendencies among their children. But the education of fathers had less effect.

      Among mothers with university degrees, children's obesity rate was 3.7 percent, but among children of mothers with only a high-school diploma the proportion was 11.1 percent.

      Among university-educated mothers, only 15.8 percent of children had suicidal thoughts, but the rate rose to a staggering 38.9 percent among children whose mothers have no high-school diploma.

      Kim Eun-jung at ChildFund Korea said, "It's clear that poverty is inherited. More needs to be done to eradicate social inequality."

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