Health in Northern Ontario is poorer than in the province of Ontario. Late childhood is the period in which adult habits and health behaviours are solidified, thus, health indicators are important to guide the development and implementation of disease prevention strategies. The Northern Ontario Child and Youth Health Report evaluated the health of children in Northern Ontario. The importance of public health planning is presented with the value of health status information for youth. The hospitalization rate for Northern Ontario youths was higher than for Ontario. In both areas, injuries and poisonings were the leading cause of hospitalization (7-13 year olds), however rates in the North were higher. Hospitalizations for injuries and poisonings were double the provincial rate in 14-19 year olds. The mortality rate for all youth was significantly higher. Health risk behaviour prevalence (e.g., alcohol consumption) was higher in the region. Current data emphasize the need for primordial and primary prevention in regional health planning and are also useful in secondary and tertiary prevention. Data for public health planning is critical to address population health needs and prevent chronic diseases.