The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has launched a new report, The State of Child Health, which brings together data for the first time on a comprehensive list of 25 measures of the health of UK children.
These range from specific conditions such as asthma, diabetes and epilepsy, risk factors for poor health such as obesity and a low rate of breastfeeding, to child deaths. The data provides an “across the board” snapshot of child health and wellbeing in the UK.
The report finds that children living in the most deprived areas are much more likely to be in poor health, be overweight or obese, suffer from asthma, have poorly managed diabetes, experience mental health problems, and die early.
The RCPCH states that nearly one in five children in the UK is living in poverty and inequality is blighting their lives, with those from the most deprived backgrounds experiencing much worse health compared with the most affluent.
Professor Neena Modi, President of the RCPCH said:
“Poor health in infancy, childhood, and young adult life will ultimately mean poor adult health, and this in turn will mean a blighted life and poor economic productivity. The UK is one of the richest countries in the world; we can and must do better, for the sake for each individual, and that of the nation as a whole.”
Responding to the report, Chris Wright, Head of Wellbeing at the Youth Sport Trust, said:
"At the Youth Sport Trust we know young people's health and wellbeing can be significantly improved through regular physical activity.
"While it is sad to see today's statistics, there are things we can do today to make a difference for all young people, including those living in the most deprived communities.
Physical education and development is core in the curriculum in Early Years at all four key stages and we believe the subject could be making a more significant contribution to the issues facing young people today.
We are committed to helping schools change the way they focus and deliver PE so it genuinely helps achieve wellbeing outcomes and is not overly focussed on sport content, competence and performance.
To read the full RCPCH report visit: http://www.rcpch.ac.uk/