Children Commissioner | September 2019 | A Manifesto for Children
The Children’s Commissioner has published a manifesto which calls on Britain’s political parties to include a six-point plan in their election manifestos to transform the life chances for disadvantaged children and to help all of England’s 12 million children to thrive.
Royal Society for Public Health | September 2019 | Routing out childhood obesity
Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity have produced Routing out childhood obesity a report that outlines a outlines a range of recommendations for transforming the street environment, particularly around schools, with the ambition that all children should have access to a healthy route home.
Researchers aimed to combine street-level mapping and fieldwork with first-hand insight from children throughout Lambeth and Southwark, in order to paint a picture of the key street-based influences on diet and activity experienced by a child over the course of an ordinary day.
Key messages of the publication:
People’s lived experience of their neighbourhood has an important impact on how they differentially interact with features of their environment.
There is often a crucial window of exposure to obesogenic environments for children during their daily routes to and from school, which can have a substantial impact on food consumption.
Unhealthy fast food outlets have in some cases become de facto extensions of the school environment. This often isn’t driven by a desire for food but by a lack of other appropriate, safe, affordable and socially acceptable spaces for young people after school
Positive food environments in the school and home can easily be undermined during the post-school period.
Advertising exposure and tailored marketing has a large influence on driving young people to consume more.
More attention must be paid to the needs of teenagers in the design of green space, with youth-led initiatives to address the lack of age-appropriate equipment in many parks (Source: Royal Society of Public Health)
This review looks in detail at the mental healthcare provided to young people from the unique perspective of the overlap between physical and mental healthcare, the quality of physical and mental healthcare provided and how patients with mental health conditions use healthcare services. The overarching aim of this study was to identify areas of care that can be improved for all patients aged between 11 and 25 years.
The review is divided into three reports and can be downloaded here
Since 2009 children and young people have become increasingly unhappy. Based on the latest figures, this new report from The Children’s Society estimates a quarter of a million children are unhappy with their lives, with factors like friends, school and appearance all playing a role.
The report calls on the Government to introduce national measurement of well-being for all children aged 11-18 to be undertaken through schools and colleges once a year. This would enable the experiences of young people to be recorded and issues acted upon for future generations.
The Good Childhood Report 2019 is the eighth in the annual series of reports by The Children’s Society and alongside the latest trends in children’s well-being, also looks at family, financial circumstance, multiple disadvantage and what children and young people think about the future.
The Health Foundation | August 2019 | Stress in childhood and over the life course – our bodies pay the price
A new briefing from the Health Foundation underlines how close to two-thirds of children in the UK are predicted to be living in poverty by 2021, following a Special Report on extreme poverty and human rights in a recent update to the UN General Assembly.Figures show that 4.5 million children were living in poverty in 2018.
The number of children living in poverty in the UK is not only a cause for concern not just in itself, but also because of the consequences it will have for the health outcomes of these children and young people across their life course. Poor housing, limited access to educational and employment opportunities, and poor diet are all likely to have damaging effects on the health of children and young people living in poverty today.
There is another cause for worry about the long-term consequences of poverty and other sources of stress which children and young people face. We physically adapt to our environments, and this process of adaptation is particularly marked while we are developing as we grow up. All environments affect us biologically, sometimes in a positive way, sometimes the effect is neutral, and sometimes the effect is negative. These exposures, or experiences, can come to be absorbed into our bodies’ cells, organs and systems, ultimately affecting our health.
Allostatic load, published this week, we review the growing evidence suggesting young people exposed to stressors in early life are at risk of developing serious non-communicable diseases and poor health later in life through allostatic load. The report finds that across a number of studies (including one systematic review), socioeconomic disadvantage has been associated with a higher allostatic load score and increased allostatic load has been linked with multiple chronic disease outcomes (Source: The Health Foundation).