Children in the world’s richest countries, including the Netherlands, are grappling with mental health concerns, obesity and poor social and academic skills, according to a new study published on Thursday by the UN children’s fund Unicef.
Nevertheless, the well-being of Dutch children remains top of a list of the 41 most prosperous countries in the world, Unicef said. Denmark and Norway are in second and third place.
While the figures for the Netherlands are to be welcomed, ‘we should not forget the children in the Netherlands who do not have it so good,’ Suzanne Laszlo, director of Unicef Nederland said.
In addition, she said, growing up in a prosperous country is no guarantee of a happy and healthy life. ‘We know from recent research that Dutch youngsters’ suffer most stress from pressure at school. And as this pressure increases, youngsters experience more emotional problems and become less happy. And the coronavirus crisis is only adding to this.’
It is therefore key to keep a close eye on the impact coronavirus is having on children, she said. ‘It is the poorest children and families who are being hardest hit, and that can increase inequality,’ she said.
While Dutch children top the ranking in terms of their mental health, with 90% reporting being satisfied with life, they are 9th in terms of physical health. The Netherlands is also mid table for child mortality rates and 25% of children are considered to be overweight.
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