The first five years of a child’s life are critical to their future development. Based on official data published by Public Health England, this report looks at four key measures of young children’s health and well-being – obesity, tooth decay, injury and ‘school readiness’.
It 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 dramatically affects their lives.
- There are startling variations in young children's outcomes at regional and local authority level. For example, 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 Reception.
- 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, we could avoid tens of thousands of incidents of early childhood obesity, tooth decay and injury.
- Significantly, it is not inevitable that children in poor areas fare the worst. There are a number of very deprived local authorities where young children are doing as well as, or better than, the national average.
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 in our area summaries.