Leading child-health expert Professor Fiona Stanley has said that one in five Australians is 'unfit' to be a parent.
Owing to either excessive professional commitment or lack of parenting skills, or simply the lack of means, the health of future children is bound to suffer.
"There are a worrying number of threats to children's health in society today," News.com.au quoted the expert as saying.
"If we don't respond to these challenges ... we will be looking at our generation, my generation, as being the last generation that lives longer than its parents," she added.
Insisting on the urgency of the situation as grave as that of the global warming, Professor Stanley criticized the Federal Government's policy on paid parental leave.
She said: "The fact we don't have maternity leave or parental leave in Australia is just indicative of our lack of valuing of parents."
"There's this increasing group of parents who are just not making ends meet.
"And they may represent as much as 20 per cent of the population when you add in Aboriginal people and the most disadvantaged in society."
The Australian epidemiologist further warned against mental illness, obesity, asthma and substance abuse as the principal threats facing the future generation.