The health of children and young people in England is behind that of other wealthy countries, with poor performance in breastfeeding, vaccination uptake and obesity at age 5. There are also concerns about mental health problems and poor outcomes associated with other long-term conditions. These alarming trends are not evenly distributed across society and are more pronounced for poorer children and those from minoritised ethnic backgrounds. Without sustained improvement there is a risk that detrimental health trends may lead to generational ‘scarring’ for current and future children.
The Children, Young People and Families programme will provide an evidence base to help address the major health and wellbeing challenges faced by these groups to support and promote children and young people’s development and transition into adulthood. It will research distinct public health challenges at different levels, join up approaches by collaborating with policymakers and practitioners, and work with members of the public from different sectors to identify priorities for research and future investment.
Areas of research within this programme include:
Inclusive and sustainable environments for children and young people’s health and wellbeing – this area of research will examine strategies which aim to create safe, inclusive and sustainable environments for children, young people and families. It will assess their influence in health outcomes and aspects that have affected success or failure to take learnings forward about what works in different contexts.
Healthy start for life for young children and families – this stream of research will assess the factors that impact upon the health and wellbeing of young children and families, and address inequalities that may persist throughout the life course. Researchers will explore factors such as preconception health, accessibility to maternity services, and health behaviours in under 5s such as feeding, healthy eating, exercise, sleep and oral health.
Health-promoting and inclusive educational settings – this area of research will explore how we can improve health and wellbeing in educational settings, in and outside of school, and during and outside of curriculum time.
Details of projects will be added here as our work develops.