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English Chief Medical Officer highlights the importance of preventative interventions for our children to keep them healthy

The Chief Medical Officer’s annual report ‘Our Children Deserve Better: Prevention Pays’ focuses on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.
The report describes PSHE education as “a subject that forms a bridge between health and education by building resilience and wellbeing.”

The report emphasises the importance of prevention:“There is also an increasing evidence base showing that in children prevention pays, with an expected return on 6—10% from investing in interventions early in life. The case for early intervention and prevention is increasingly clear both biologically and economically.
Yet the UK’s National Audit Office estimates that only 6% of current government spending is on early action and within health, and only 4% is spent directly on preventive measures. There is also evidence that children are disproportionately disadvantaged. In the UK, 26·9% of children and young people (aged 0—19 years) are living in, or at risk of, poverty or social exclusion, compared with an overall population rate of 22·6%; these figures compare poorly with the Netherlands, the best performing country in Europe, which has a corresponding rate of 15·7%.
The recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer in the Annual Report should catalyse action across government. We must develop the evidence base on child health, particularly for early intervention, including the Healthy Child Programme, and promote resilience in its widest sense. Further recommendations seek to translate the evidence presented in the Annual Report into practical actions, which include commissioning age-appropriate training for health professionals, translating the evidence on children and young people’s views of health care into a “Health Deal” and developing tool kits for schools to improve educational attainment through Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) education. We badly need independent monitoring of progress against outcome indicators”.

gov.uk/government/publications/chief-medical-officersannual- report-2012-our-children-deserve-betterprevention- pays

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