Investing in giving children the best start for life not only improves their life chances, but also reduces the demands on public services. As highlighted by the #TurnOffTheTaps Campaign launched last week, it’s time for a different approach. The UK is investing billions in overstretched health and social care services, which are flooded with growing needs. It’s time to turn off the taps. It’s time to invest in health promotion and prevention in the earliest years of life.
Vicky Gilroy, iHV Head of Projects and Evaluation, said:
“The iHV is delighted that the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), in their newly launched “Turning the Tide: A 10-year Healthy Weight Strategy”, has recognised and promoted the important role that health visitors play, providing individualised family-centred support to all families to reduce the impact of obesity.”
The Turning the Tide: A 10-year Healthy Weight Strategy, launched on 28 September 2021, makes 30 recommendations covering food and drink marketing in the early years, along with treatment, support and the need to address stigma, as well as the infrastructure needed to ensure that policies are robustly implemented and evaluated. The Strategy has been developed with an expert working group of academics, clinicians and policy experts, along with other expert advisors and OHA members. It brings together a wide range of public health stakeholders calling for evidence-informed approaches to improving healthy weight.
Key headlines from the Early Years Chapter of the Strategy include:
- An increase in health visitor universal ‘contacts’ (home visits or clinic appointments) to a minimum of eight
- – Providing greater opportunities for the provision of advice and support on infant feeding and the promotion of healthy eating, physical activity and healthy weight.
- – Enabling the early identification of children at risk of unhealthy growth with enhanced, tailored follow-up where needed to improve outcomes.
- Practical face-to-face breastfeeding support should be available to all women, delivered by appropriately qualified midwives, midwife support workers, health visitors or breastfeeding specialists, and assisted by trained peer supporters.
- Comprehensive training should enable and equip professionals working with expectant parents and families to discuss healthy weight and healthy eating in an empathetic manner, ensuring that the advice they receive is based on the best current independent evidence.
It’s time to turn the tide and halt the rise in obesity with a long-term approach to healthy weight. We support the OHA’s new healthy weight strategy with 30 evidence-informed actions. #TurnTheTide
Public services are flooded with increasing needs. It’s time to invest in health visiting to #TurnOffTheTaps.