Healthy Early Years is a public health initiative which explores key areas of health and well-being for the whole family.
As a setting, we will be working with you to actively promote the following:
· Healthy eating
· Physical exercise
· Good oral health
· The uptake of immunisations for children attending
· Promoting breastfeeding
· Safety at home, health messages, accident prevention and reducing injuries
· Emotional wellbeing of children and parents
For further information and key messages, please read on and take a look at the downloadable resources.
Many health challenges and inequalities have foundations in early childhood, with the poorest families experiencing the worst health outcomes.
The first 1001 days (from conception to age 2) are recognised as a crucial period during which the foundations for future health and wellbeing are built. Positive experiences - and good quality parent-infant relationships during this time - are associated with the formation of a secure attachment which contributes to good physical and mental health, speech and language development, emotional self-regulation, resilience and wider social and economic advantages throughout their life.
Getting a good start in life, building emotional resilience and getting maximum benefit from education are the most important markers for good health and wellbeing throughout life. We know that 80% of brain cell development takes place by age three and how we care for infants shapes their lives.
Early attachment and good maternal mental health shapes a child’s later emotional, behavioural and intellectual development. Enabling children to achieve their full potential and be physically and emotionally healthy provides the cornerstone for a healthy, productive adulthood.
Socially disadvantaged children are more likely to have speech, language and communication difficulties than their peers, which has implications for their educational attainment and future life chances. There is also evidence of difficulties with peer relationships, emotional problems and impaired social behaviour. For example, 60% of young offenders are found to have speech, language and communication needs.
Breastfeeding provides the best possible nutritional start in life for a baby, protecting the baby from infection and offering important health benefits for the mother. In England, 74.5% of all babies received breast milk for their first feed in the financial year 2016 to 2017, but by 6 to 8 weeks this fell to 44.4%. The government’s advice is that infants should be exclusively breastfed, receiving only breastmilk for the first 6 months of life. Following this, other drinks and foodstuffs can be introduced.
Children are more likely to be obese if their mother was obese during the early stages of pregnancy. In addition, researchers have found increased risk of poor outcomes including stillbirth and infant mortality where maternal obesity is higher. By age 5 years, 22.6% of children were overweight and 23.3% had tooth decay in the academic year 2016 to 2017; both of which are preventable.
Being overweight is associated with increases in the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers. It is also associated with poor mental health in adults, and stigma and bullying in childhood.
Current health advice for good oral health includes tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day, a visit to the dentist when a child’s first tooth erupts and a healthy diet with limitations on sugary snacks and drink. Data from the oral health survey for 5 year olds for the academic year 2016 to 2017 shows that 23.3%, or almost one in every four children, had preventable dental decay.
Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill health. They prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year. Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely. Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced. However, if people stop having vaccines, it's possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.
Measles and mumps are starting to appear again in England, even though the MMR vaccine is safe and protects against both diseases. Measles and mumps cases have nearly doubled in recent years. This is serious as measles can lead to life-threatening complications like meningitis, and mumps can cause hearing loss.
It's rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to a vaccination. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes. The person who vaccinates you or your child will be trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately. With prompt treatment, you or your child will make a good recovery.
Smoking is England’s biggest killer, causing nearly 80,000 premature deaths a year and a heavy toll of illness. Nearly eight million people still smoke, with most having started in childhood. The best way to stop children smoking is to reduce smoking in the world around them, helping adults to quit so that smoking is no longer the norm.
Smoking during pregnancy is associated with the foetus growing at a slower rate in the womb and can result in babies being small for gestational age and having a low birth weight. Smoking during pregnancy is also associated with higher rates of stillbirth and infant mortality.
If you would like more information please see links below: