Source: The Australian, 14 January, 1999, p.1
BELINDA HICKMAN AMANDA KEENAN
JESSE Devine-Colcott is only four days old but already he is a typical Australian child. His mother, Debra, who took him home yesterday, is 32, within the average age range for mothers of 25 to 34. At 3971.6 grams, her son is also within the norm-most babies weigh between 3000g and 4000g. Jesse's arrival means the Devine-Colcott family now has the average number of children: two. Their elder son, Zachary, is 2. Jesse is a boy, and slightly more boys are born than girls. He arrived at Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital on Monday, joining about 4 million other children under 15 in Australia, and he is among the 58 per cent of children who live in the two largest States, NSW and Victoria. So far, Jesse fits many of the childhood patterns revealed in a new report, released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which provides the first comprehensive picture of the health of the nation's children. The publication, Australia's Children: Their Health and Wellbeing 1998, reveals a volume of information on the factors that affect children's mental and physical wellbeing. It shows that until he turns 15, Jesse's direct healthcare costs will average almost $1000 a year, at their highest until his fourth birthday at $1319 a year. If he is among the 22 per cent of children hospitalised for injury or illness before 15, it's most likely to occur before he turns 4. Of course, it's still too early to tell whether Jesse will follow some of the other trends in the report. But the good news is he is likely to finish high school and is unlikely to be bullied there. And his home environment should be stable, which will improve his academic chances.
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