child eating banana
Why a healthy start matters

The foundations for virtually every aspect of human development are laid in early childhood. A healthy, happy start paves the way for a brighter and healthier future.

A crucial time with the greatest impact on a child’s future 

Giving children the best possible start in life is crucial to their future health and wellbeing – and to reducing inequalities across the life course. Evidence shows that a child’s home environment and parenting during the early years have life-long impacts on future health outcomes, emotional wellbeing, educational achievement and economic status. The vital importance of the early years is unequivocally supported by research and is at the core of key national policy recommendations.

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Laying foundations for a heathy future

The foundations for future health and wellbeing are laid in the crucial early years. Diet, obesity, physical activity, communication, cognitive development and oral health in later life all have roots in early childhood. Once established, it’s extremely challenging to reverse any negative impact from the early years on health – for example, data from Public Health England shows that just 1 in 20 children who are obese at age 5 will return to a healthy weight by age 11.

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It’s easier right from the start

Early childhood presents a unique window of opportunity to get children off to the best possible start. It’s often a time when families have considerable contact with early years’ services and also a time when parents may be more receptive to external support and guidance. Habits formed in early childhood are enduring; poor habits, once established, are very difficult to break.

Read more about establishing a healthy lifestyle right from the start

Return on investment

The economic case for investing in the early years is compelling. It’s not only cost effective – ensuring children reach school in good health and ready to learn – but also delivers significant benefits to society as a whole. With nearly 1 in 4 children obese when they start school, investing in early years obesity prevention is a cost-effective use of limited public health funds.

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Giving every child the best start in life is crucial to reducing health inequalities across the life course.

Professor Sir Michael Marmot
 

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How HENRY supports a healthy start

HENRY adopts a unique and holistic approach to working with families

child with red pepper
Why choose HENRY

Our services are evidence-based, effective, flexible, responsive and innovative