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UNICEF report raises alarm about child wellbeing

A scene from a childcare facility this summer in Zurich. Lack of affordable childcare is a common complaint in Switzerland. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Children in Switzerland have been ranked fourth for wellbeing in a report published on Thursday by UNICEF, but the findings for all nations are cause for concern.

This content was published on September 3, 2020 - 10:04
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The report External linkby the organisation’s Office of Research – Innocenti surveys child wellbeing in 41 wealthy nations. Based on pre-Covid-19 data, it looks at mental and physical health as well as academic ability and social skills.

The authors found that suicide, unhappiness, obesity and poor social and academic skills are “far too common features of childhood in high-income countries”.

Children in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway came ahead of Switzerland in the study, with 90% of Dutch kids satisfied with their lives compared to 82% in Switzerland.

However, the report found that one in three children across all countries is either obese or overweight, and on average 40% do not have basic reading or math skills by age 15.

Based on the findings, UNICEF is calling on countries to take several measures to reverse the trend, including action to reduce income inequality, address the gap in mental health services, improve work-family balance, strengthen childcare and efforts to protect children from preventable diseases.

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