The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) looked at 25 different health indicators across 20 years in the UK. From this they were able to study shifts in the causes of these towards environmental factors. In these 20 years, the UK has made progress in improving health indicators, but is still behind other countries in Europe.
Main challenges in children and young people’s health are obesity, mental health problems, and health inequality due to poverty. Having discussed the issues with children and young people, they contributed that they would like to be consulted about their health issues, particularly mental health and the effects of poverty.
Approximately 850,000 children and young people in the UK have mental health problems, but their experiences are often under-researched. There is also a lack of data regarding tracking healthy height and weight as young people age. What data there is shows that 40% of children and young people in the most deprived areas of the UK are obese.
Key contributing factors covered in this report are maternal health, breastfeeding, obesity, tobacco, alcohol, and inequality. To ensure positive outcomes in these areas the RCPCH argues that policy needs to put children and young people’s health at the top of the agenda, and build health strategies around these areas.
“Poverty has been shown to significantly impact negatively on both children’s physical and mental health as well as their education. A need has been created to combat these challenges and the Department for Education and Department of Health are proposing interventions to remedy the situation.
It is to be hoped that proposed solutions will not be in the form of three different silos: physical health, mental health and education. There is an opportunity to implement a strategic, holistic approach that can deliver positive outcomes.
The pioneering programme of Evolve, Project HERO, provides a signpost as to how this may be achieved. Awards from Education, the Royal Society of Public Health and UnLtd among others suggest HERO can provide an insight as to how to create and implement an upstream intervention.”
– Graham Morgan, Evolve Director and Chairman
To read the full report, click here.