State of child health (UK)
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has published a landmark report looking at child health outcomes and data trends across the UK.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has published a landmark report looking at child health outcomes and data trends across the UK, publishing country-specific policy recommendations for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (NI).
Trends in NI show that the percentage of 4-5 year olds recorded as overweight or obese has increased from 25.1% in 2014 to 26.1% in 2019.
They list their priorities for NI are:
- Reduce child health inequalities
- Prioritise public health, prevention and early intervention
- Build and strengthen local, cross-sector services to reflect local need
Policy recommendations include that local councils in NI ban fast food outlets from within 400 metres of schools and leisure centres, and that the UK government maintain and monitor the soft drinks industry levy.
The report also states that the NI executive should achieve the percentage target for overweight and obese children and young people laid out in the Department of Health ‘Fitter Future for All Strategy’ by prioritising outcomes from physical activity, food choices and early identification.
RCPCH officer, Dr Ray Nethercott, stated that “by addressing these key issues, we can reduce the burden of disease during childhood and into adulthood with many benefits to the individual and society.” This would include less pressure on adult services, and a happier, healthier, more productive workforce.