Improving Health and Wellbeing Outcomes in the Early Years – Research and Practice
Mother and young girl doing homework

The early years period is a critical time for child health and wellbeing. Where children grow up with secure relationships, safe home-learning environments, adequate housing, and have good nutrition, the probability of lasting positive health and wellbeing is strong. On the other hand, adverse childhood experiences in the early years such as poverty, child abuse and neglect, or parental substance misuse, not only impact negatively on children’s health and wellbeing, but can effect a wide range of future outcomes including learning, anti-social behaviour, and premature ill-health and death. 

With respect to health, people in lower socio-economic groups are more likely to experience ill health and die earlier than those who are more advantaged. These differences in health status, widely referred to as health inequalities, arise from the socially determining factors that impact on the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. 

This publication, produced by the Institute of Public Health and the Centre for Effective Services explores how these conditions can in part be addressed through prevention and early intervention approaches with children, parents and professionals. In the context of this work, early intervention means intervening at a young age or early on in the life course, while prevention refers to avoiding the negative impacts of the social determinants of health.

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