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The University of Southampton

Southampton professor authors major children’s health report

Published: 27 October 2021

A Southampton academic has made an important contribution to The Health and Wellbeing of Children in the Early Years report, which calls for children to be placed at the heart of the UK’s pandemic recovery.

The report, published by The Children’s Alliance, says that COVID-19 has revealed entrenched health inequalities across the UK.

Professor Keith Godfrey was one of 31 academics, voluntary sector and childcare professionals to contribute to the report, which also sets out a practical plan for Government that reverses the decline in the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The report warns that poor nutrition and access to a healthy diet is desperately needed and dental care should be included in all parental, perinatal and postnatal programmes. It says that policies should enable a positive mental health culture in early years and the government should reaffirm its commitment to creating a first-class early years workforce.

Professor Godfrey said: “A child’s early years are critical in how their future is shaped. This report brings together a range of evidence to show the challenges and equalities that our children face. We must ensure that children and their future children are placed at the heart of new policies that will make a real and positive impact on their lives.”

Honorary president of the Children’s Alliance, Baroness (Frances) De Souza, said: “The inequalities besetting our very youngest children do not owe their origin to Covid-19 – but the pandemic has opened our eyes to them. This report and its successors on Physical Health, Mental Health and Family and Community will prove that need for a Cabinet Minister for Children is irrefutable if “the right to thrive” is to be enjoyed by all UK citizens.”


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