As 2012 approaches, Australia's leading medical association has urged the federal government to focus on child and youth health issues in the new year.
President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) Dr Steve Hambleton has highlighted concerns such as poor diet, obesity, anxiety, depression and substance abuse as issues that need to be addressed for young people in 2012.
"It is important that as a community we focus on the health needs of young Australians, especially those from low-income and disadvantaged backgrounds," he said.
"The provision of services that promote the health and wellbeing of children and young people is an investment, not a cost."
According to Dr Hambleton, access to health services – for both children and adults – needs to be improved.
A private health insurance can provide cover to both adults and their dependent children and can provide a range of services such as dental and optical as well as helping to avoid public hospital waiting lists.
Dr Hambleton highlighted the significant deterioration in outcomes over recent decades when evaluating measures of developmental wellbeing – such as mental health and obesity – in young Australians.