Intended for healthcare professionals


Growing up in the UK: can we deliver a healthy future for our children?

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 12 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3713
  1. Janis Baird, senior lecturer in public health1,
  2. Andrew Mortimore, director of public health2,
  3. Patricia Lucas, senior lecturer in early childhood3
  1. 1MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
  2. 2Public Health, Southampton City Council, Southampton, UK
  3. 3School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. jb{at}

Implementation of the BMA’s recommendations will be challenging

The health and wellbeing of children growing up in the United Kingdom are worse than is seen for children in most of the UK’s European counterparts.1 In May 2013, the BMA report Growing up in the UK: Ensuring a Healthy Future for our Children set out an ambitious agenda for improving child health and reducing inequalities.2 Central to its message is greater advocacy on behalf of children from all people involved in their care and better representation of the views of children and families.

The report argues powerfully for prevention—a public health approach that acts on risk factors at all levels to deliver a whole population shift. It cites many examples of where this makes compelling economic sense, with early intervention preventing high costs later on. Local authorities, which now have responsibilities for public health leadership, currently face the most challenging budget reductions in living memory. Services are being severely cut back, and all authorities are searching for a sustainable delivery model that protects essential services such as child protection, while allowing for the promotion of health and wellbeing. Clinical commissioning groups and public health teams must lead the way in making the case to preserve and …

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