Health Select Committee highlights crucial importance of first 1000 days

Home > Health Select Committee highlights crucial importance of first 1000 days

8 March 2019

The Health and Social Committee’s new report, First 1000 days of Life, discusses the profound impact that experiences in this period can have on children’s health and life chances.

The reports follows an extensive inquiry into UK families’ experiences of the first 1000 days, and highlights the need to both improve service provision to better empower parents, and to combat the many social stresses that families face.

In-keeping with our Call to Action campaign, the committee calls for a coordinated, Government-led response to improving child health in their period: “The Government should lead by developing a long-term, cross-Government strategy for the first 1000 days of life, setting demanding goals to reduce adverse childhood experiences, improve school readiness and reduce infant mortality and child poverty.”

The Committee recommends that service improvements follow six principles:

  • “proportionate universalism”, so services are available to all but targeted in proportion to the level of need,
  • prevention and early intervention,
  • community partnerships,
  • a focus on meeting the needs of marginalised groups,
  • greater integration and better multi-agency working; and
  • evidence-based provision.
Investing in the early years is the best investment any government can make and saves money in the long-term. We recommend that the Government use the 2019 Spending Review as an opportunity to initiate the next early years revolution with a secure, longterm investment in prevention and early intervention to support parents, children and families during this critical period.

The report highlights the importance of breastfeeding for child health, and finds that consistent support provision is a key deciding factor in mothers being able to breastfeed for as long as they wish.

We welcome the Committee’s work to put the first 1000 days at the forefront of child health policy and empower families to give their children the best possible start in life.

Read the full report.

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