Simply by growing up in a certain part of England a
child under five is more likely to have poor health that will
impact the rest of their lives
The first five years of a child's life are critical to their
future development. Our report Poor Beginnings: Health
Inequalities among young children across England is based on
official data published by Public Health England. It looks at four
key measures of young children's health and well-being - obesity,
tooth decay, accidental injury and 'school readiness'. The report
provides a clear picture of the health of children under five
years old living in England and shows how growing up in different
areas of the country has a dramatic effect on their lives.
Thousands of children are affected by obesity, tooth decay and
accidental injury and do not develop well before starting school.
However, a child's chances of experiencing one of these poor
outcomes depends a great deal on where they grow up.
- There are startling variations in young children's outcomes at
regional and local authority level. For example, a five-year-old in
Leicester is over five times more likely to suffer from tooth decay
than one of their peers in West Sussex, and if the North West had
the same outcomes as the South East it would have around 5,500 more
children achieving a good level of development by the end of
- Young children growing up in deprived areas tend to do worse
than those living in less deprived areas. If all local authorities
had similar outcomes to the most affluent areas, we could avoid
tens of thousands of incidents of early childhood obesity, tooth
decay and injury.
- However, significantly, it is not inevitable that children in
poor areas fare worse than those in more prosperous areas. There
are a number of very deprived local authorities where young
children are doing as well as, or better than, the national
Download the full report.
area summaries document to explore in more depth the stories of
deprived areas where young children's health and development is as
good as, or better than, the national average.
Find the outcomes for young children in your area using our
Download our data on outcomes in local authorities as a