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    Posted on Mar 2, 2015

    The Public, Politics And Child Health: Eight Calls To Action

    With the worst rates of child obesity and mortality in Western Europe and growing fears for the UK's child and adolescent mental health services, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health calls on whoever forms the next government to give child health the political attention it deserves - backed by the public . A ComRes poll of the UK public reveals why investing in children's health makes strong moral, economic and political sense...

    1. 94% of adults say that children’s health should be a priority for the NHS

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk / Via rcpch.ac.uk

    Children's health should be an equal priority in the NHS as adult and elderly care, according to the poll - which was representative of the UK adult population

    2. Reducing child death rates (76%), reducing rates of childhood cancer (77%) and ensuring consistent health service provision for children and young people across the UK (77%)...

    Illustrations by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    ...Were the top three child health issues that the public feel should be priorities for government

    3. Nearly two thirds of adults support banning advertising of food high in fat, sugar and salt on TV before 9pm

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    The Academy of Medical Royal College's 'Measuring up' report recommended this, along with a number of other recommendations back in 2013 in order to reduce the UK's obesity rates.

    4. 82% of adults back introducing compulsory personal, social and health education (PSHE) in primary and secondary schools...

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    ...In order to build resilience and specifically tackle issues around social inclusion, bullying, drug and alcohol use and mental health.

    5. 90% of adults support compulsory cooking and nutrition lessons in schools

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    With one in three children overweight or obese by the age of nine, it's important children are taught from a young age how to cook healthy, nutritious meals. You can find out more about the UK's childhood obesity problem on the RCPCH's website.

    6. 77% of adults are in favour of supporting pregnant mothers to reduce risky behaviours during pregnancy such as smoking

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    'Risky behaviours' during pregnancy are some of the leading causes of preventable child mortality in the UK. Read more in the Why Children Die report by the RCPCH and National Children's Bureau

    7. More than three in five adults (62%) say increasing the amount of money spent on research (e.g. clinical trials) to improve children and young people’s health should be a high priority

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    Turning the Tide: Harnessing the power of child health research outlines key recommendations in child health research in the UK, including paediatrician's accessibility to research opportunities and the public's perception of this work.

    8. 69% of adults see improving children and young people’s mental health as a high priority

    Illustration by Ian Friday, Bourne and Bred bourneandbred.co.uk

    There are at least 850,000 children in the UK with a diagnosed mental health condition, yet 75% do not receive the support they are entitled to and need.

    The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health submitted evidence to the Health Select Committee’s recent inquiry on child and adolescent mental health services, making recommendations on how services, information and early intervention needs to be improved.

    What now?

    The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health calls on the next government to improve child health by moving child health higher up the political agenda and implementing the recommendations found in the College's 'Vision 2015' manifesto

    Join the debate using #childhealthmatters

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