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Paediatricians warn on child health trends

Monday October 15th, 2018

Child health in England is falling behind other developed countries, paediatricians warn today.

A report says that infant mortality rates will be more than twice as high than in other similar nations by 2030.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health calls for a properly-funded strategy to “transform” the life chances of children and young people.

Its report says that over the next 12 years paediatric mental health problems could increase by 60% - while paediatric emergency department attendances are likely to increase by half.

And within those 12 years, nearly a third of the most deprived boys will be obese.

Its projections for infant mortality are based on the increased rates between 2015 to 2016 – and the assumption that this will not improve. Rates had been declining steadily previously.

This could mean by 2030 infant mortality rates in England being 2.4 times as high as other countries, the college says. And even if rates resume their steady decline, the rates will be 80% higher.

College president Professor Russell Viner said: “Unless current trends improve, England is likely to fall further behind countries of similar wealth over the next decade making it harder to give children the best start in life, receive the care they need and remain healthy into productive, happy adult lives.

“This report clearly identifies the danger on the horizon - but trends shown here are not inevitable. Each of them could be turned around if key actions are undertaken. We acknowledge that admirable action has been taken on some fronts, such as the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan, which we believe will help to reverse current obesity trends if fully implemented.”

Child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr Gary Wannan, deputy chair of the British Medical Association consultants committee, said: “After 100 years of decline, the rise in infant mortality in England in recent years is really concerning and a clear sign that urgent action must be taken now if we are to see improvements to children’s health in the future.

“We can no longer regard ourselves as one of the leading healthcare providers in Europe, and indeed across the world, if we lag behind so significantly in provision for young people.

“This report should be a serious call to action for the government who must begin working to avert these worrying predictions.”

Tags: Child Health | NHS | UK News

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