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Children in England develop too slowly

11th February 2011

Concerns have been raised over the development rate of young children in England.

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Public health experts have discovered that almost half of the country’s children are not reaching what teachers consider a good level of development by the time they are five.

With that age considered a guide to future health prospects, experts say the findings are of serious concern.

For the research led by British Medical Association president Sir Michael Marmot, experts focused on key indicators used to predict future health: life expectancy, disability-free life expectancy, child development at five, young people out of work and households on means-tested benefits.

The Marmot Review found that 44% of children aged five were below where they should be in terms of being able to share, self-motivate, co-operate and concentrate by the time they start school.

Worst performing areas were the London Borough of Haringey (58%), while Brent, Newham and Herefordshire showed levels of 55%.

Best performances were in Solihull in the West Midlands and Richmond upon Thames.

Sir Michael said: “There is no question that inequalities in society are, in large measure, responsible for inequalities in early child development.

“A big part of that is parenting. If parents can't parent properly because they are poor, depressed, pressed in by circumstances, then we need to be there to support those parents.”

The Faculty of Public Health said the data could help local authorities target resources when they take over responsibility for public health.

Public health minister Anne Milton said the government was focusing on improving the health of vulnerable groups.

 

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