Family health can be defined broadly to include all of the factors that influence a family’s functioning. It can include such areas as physical and mental health, financial status, stress, nutrition, access to food and medical care, and many others. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the determinants of health to include the social and economic environment, the physical environment, and the person’s individual characteristics and behaviors. A consideration of family health is important for the study of children because family has been shown to influence the development of children. This entry identifies various parental factors that influence family health and child development.

The environment in which we live shapes our lives. For example, during pregnancy, the mother’s body is influenced by effects within her environment. ...

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