1,000-day challenge to improve the life chances of babies

editorial image

Last year’s annual public health report set out a challenge to improve the health of babies in their first 1,000 days of life.

It said health problems like heart disease, lung disease and cancer all have their beginnings in early life, including the 270 days of pregnancy.

The report said unhealthy children were more likely to become unhealthy parents and made recommendations to improve babies’ life changes in their first three years.

A progress report to Wakefield Council’s next cabinet meeting on January 24 said some improvements were already being seen.

The report said: “There is good evidence that experiences in the first 1,000 days (270 days of pregnancy and the first two years of life) have a profound effect on outcomes for that child during their entire life.

“Interventions during this period therefore have the potential to produce significant benefits for individuals, families and wider society.

“Although a year is still early within a challenge which has been set for three years, there are positive indications that the recommendations are being implemented.”

Latest figures showed 66.2 per cent of new mums were now breastfeeding their children, compared to 63.9 per cent last year.

More mothers were continuing to breastfeed at six to eight weeks after birth - 35.4 per cent compared to 32.8 per cent a year earlier.

The number of pregnant women smoking had also fallen from 19.7 per cent to 19.1 per cent and was expected to fall further . The number of children living in poverty was also gradually improving, said the progress report.

It added: “All these rates remain worse than national figures, indicating further progress is possible and desirable.”