“The foundations for virtually every aspect of human development – physical, intellectual and emotional – are laid in early childhood”
Professor Michael Marmot
“Poverty is the greatest preventable threat to health, and tackling it is fundamental to addressing health inequalities and boosting life chances”
Professors Donald Hirsch & Nick Spencer
In July 2013, a joint letter was sent by to the Lead Members for Children’s Services and Chairs of Health and Wellbeing Boards, calling for local authorities to do everything they can to improve children’s health. The letter included a request to sign up to a ‘Better health outcomes for children and young people’ pledge.
We have today published a new Working Paper – DUBS_ILG_NECPC Working Paper 3 – from the North East Child Poverty Commission, based at the Institute for Local Governance, in Durham University Business School. The paper highlights the links between child poverty and health, provides background information on the situation in the North East and identifies ways in which local authorities can help to tackle poverty and mitigate its effects. There is much that local authorities can do to improve children’s health. Policies relating to education, employment, housing and welfare support can – and should – all have a positive impact on children’s health. However, in a report exploring the ‘prevalence, characteristics and distribution’ of child poverty in the North East, Professor Jonathan Bradshaw noted that “Most local authorities in the NE have worse child health than you would expect given their child poverty” (p2, 2009) and “on health, it is striking how many areas in the NE are doing much worse than would be expected given their material well-being rankings” (p29). The paper draws on research that argues that attempts to tackle health inequalities and improve the health of disadvantaged communities ‘needs to move beyond ‘bad behaviours” (Katikreddi et al 2013)
As well as the information and resources provided in the Working Paper and the Appendix to the joint letter, further resources and information relating to public health can be found on the FUSE website (FUSE is the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health in the North East) and the Wolfson Research Institute for Health & Wellbeing, based at Durham University. The Wolfson Research Institute has a specific Research Theme of Tomorrow’s Healthy Adults which ‘focuses on children and young adults, specifically targeting issues that will determine their long-term health and wellbeing’.
If you have any questions about the Working Paper, please do not hesitate to contact me.