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Healthy Child Programme (0-19)

The early years are a key determinant of health. The Marmot Review14 recognised this in its priority policy objective - ‘Give every child the best start in life’ - which is crucial to reducing health inequalities across the life course, and other social and economic inequalities throughout life.

The foundations for virtually every aspect of human development - physical, intellectual and emotional - are laid in early childhood. What happens during these early years (starting in the womb) has lifelong effects on many aspects of health and well-being - from obesity, heart disease and mental health, to educational achievement and economic status.

There are serious consequences for inaction on improving children and young people’s health outcomes. Five of the ‘top 10’ risk factors for the total burden of disease in adults are initiated or shaped in adolescence. Although there has been a significant reduction over the past decade in the number of young people drinking regularly or starting to smoke there is still much to be achieved.

The foundations of lifelong obesity, smoking and other substance misuse, sexual health and mental health are all established in childhood and adolescence. Local and national strategies to address these problems must include age appropriate interventions for children and young people, and not just consider them an optional extra.

The evidence tells us that treating different, specific health issues separately will not tackle the overall wellbeing of this generation of young people. Young people’s mental and physical health is intertwined, and at the heart of health and wellbeing are their relationships with others. Young people think about their health holistically. They want an integrated, youth friendly approach that recognises their particular needs, makes them feel supported, emphasises the positives and helps them to cope.

Healthy children (0-19) - find out why this issue is important to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and what is being done locally to address it. 

This information has been taken from the Director of Public Health's Annual Report 2015/2016.

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