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Good diets in the early years create the foundation for life-time good health. As a member of the Obesity Health Alliance, the iHV’s position on healthy diets in childhood is set out in the OHA joint position statement Healthy Early Years Diets: Achieving the Best Start in Life published on 28 February 2024. This statement outlines the next steps needed to create healthier food environments and help ensure the UK’s youngest children and babies grow up healthily, by:

  • Enabling families to feed their babies and young children healthy diets
  • Supporting early years settings to provide nutritious food and drink
  • Investing in the foundations for health in the early years

With key recommendations to:

  1. Protect babies and young children from misleading marketing
  2. Implement standards to improve commercial baby and toddler food and drinks
  3. Ensure early years settings are supported with healthy food and eating guidance – and legislate it so all can benefit
  4. Invest in local community health staff and programmes to support healthy eating in the early years
  5. Invest in the Healthy Start scheme in England to ensure greater coverage and provision of a functional nutrition safety net for eligible families (and other similar schemes in the devolved UK nations, for example, ‘Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods’ in Scotland).
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