Child poverty and health outcomes

On yet another trawl through data websites I found one which includes various health statistics for different local authorities. Whilst a the datasets are a few years old (2007/2008), I thought they looked like they might have some interesting nuggets in them.
In this post, I look at the link between levels of child poverty and obesity and tooth decay in 5 year old children. As you may be aware, Tower Hamlets has very high levels of child poverty, which in part is due to the general level of poverty in the borough, but possibly exacerbated by more prosperous families leaving Tower Hamlets.

So, first up, looking at the link between the percentage of children living in poverty (horizontal axis) versus the percentage of children of reception age (ie 4/5) that were classed as being obese.
The general shape of the data points plotted shows a reasonably strong correlation with an r-square value of 45%, and the link is statistically significant at the 5% level. The red blob at the far right is Tower Hamlets, showing high levels of child poverty, and high levels of child obesity (though not as much as might be expected, though this is a very simple mapping).

 Now looking at the same child poverty data by local authority but this time with the average number of teeth that 5 year old children had that were decayed or missing. Again, we can see the  link between the two, and again that Tower Hamlets is out on its own, though again, tooth decay isn’t as bad as we might expect.

So, the data clearly indicates that there is a strong link between child poverty and two measures of poor health, but in Tower Hamlets, the results aren’t quite as bad as we might expect (the red line in the two chart is the trend for all data points), but is still pretty appalling.

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