The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have launched their 2017 report on the state of child health in the UK.
The report brings together data from 25 measures ranging 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 provide an “across the board” snapshot of child health and wellbeing in the UK.
Key findings include:
- The UK ranks 15 out of 19 Western European countries on infant (under one year of age) mortality and has one of the highest rates for children and young people in Western Europe.
- There is a strong association between deprivation and mortality, for example infant mortality is more than twice as high in the lowest compared with the highest socio-economic groups.
- There is marked variation in smoking in pregnancy across the UK with a strong association with deprivation; for example in Scotland over a quarter (25.9%) of women in the most deprived areas acknowledged smoking following the birth of their baby, compared with 3.3% in the least deprived areas.
- In 2015/2016, 40% of children in England’s most deprived areas were overweight or obese, compared to 27% in the most affluent areas.
- The prevalence of child smoking is much higher amongst children from the most deprived areas; for example in Scotland’s most deprived areas, at least 1 in 10 young people are regular smokers.
The report makes a number of recommendations including:
- UK Government to prohibit the marketing of electronic cigarettes to children and young people.
- National public health campaigns that promote good nutrition and exercise before, during and after pregnancy.
- National public health campaign and a sector wide approach that includes employers, to support women to breastfeed.
You can read the full report on the RCPCH website.