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Report suggests the country is now at a critical moment in securing the future of young children’s health

The Nuffield Foundation has released a new study reviewing the health of young children and how this has changed over the past 20 years.

The report represents the fifth review published over the past two decades and suggests that whilst children’s health has improved over that period, progress has stalled in the last five years, and across some indicators, young children’s health is now getting worse.

The review notes that there have been small but unprecedented increases in rates of infant mortality, which increased three years in a row in England and Wales between 2015 and 2017 and in all four UK nations between 2018 and 2019. Additionally, rates of obesity and overweight in young children have been consistently too high and have soared during the pandemic.

It points to increasing health inequalities, with poverty a significant driver of poorer health outcomes across all seven indicators. Inequalities are also evident between different regions and countries of the UK and different ethnic groups. Increasing levels of poor parental mental health also pose a risk for children’s health and well-being.

The report concludes that the UK is now at a critical moment in securing the future of young children’s health.

Read the full report here.