A new report from the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer made a case for providing vitamins to all children under the age of 5.
Five more children in the United Kingdom die each day of avoidable causes than in Sweden. The report indicates that 17% of boys and 16% of girls, up to the age of 15, are obese. Additionally, experts state that nearly 40% of children are vitamin D deficient.
The report comes from Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies.
“The evidence is crystal clear and the opportunity is huge – investing in children is a certain way of improving the economic health of our nation, as well as our children’s well-being,” states Professor Davies.
Among many things, Professor Davies recommends a named general practitioner be available to every child with long term health conditions, a new national children’s week aimed at health, and a regular survey of the mental health and well-being of children.
Additionally, Professor Davies wants to see every child included in the Healthy Start Vitamin Programme. Currently, this program offers vitamins A, C, and D to impoverished children only.
Much of this call to action comes from a case study of vitamin D supplements in Birmingham. This large English city began providing vitamin D universally, and now 1 in 5 children take the supplements, an improvement. This initiative saw cases of rickets reduce by half.
“Today’s report provides a timely reminder of the challenges we face and the importance of child health in the overall health of the nation,” said President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Dr. Hilary Cass, “We have a duty to this generation of children, to the next generation and to generations to come.”
Dr. Hilary Emery, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, commenting on the report stated, “As a nation we must be much more ambitious about giving every child the best start in life and this should be a priority for all decision makers in central and local government.”
Davies, SC. Chief Medical Officer: Prevention pays – our children deserve better. United Kingdom Department of Health, 2013.