The Infant & Toddler Forum (ITF) supports the advice of Professor John Ashton, the president of the UK Faculty of Public Health that all parents should be offered state-funded classes on how to bring up their children in an attempt to tackle rising levels of child obesity, mental distress and underachievement. He called for more parenting programmes and telephone helplines and said schools should introduce daily meditation sessions.
Judy More, paediatric dietitian and ITF member, said: “It’s now well accepted that what happens during the very early years of life (starting in the womb) has lifelong effects on certain aspects of health and well-being. It is clear that we do need to act earlier to ensure every child gets the best start in life. Education is paramount to achieving this. Our latest report Early Nutrition for Later Health: Time to Act Earlier, not only echoes this call for education but highlights the need to take a life course approach to health and wellbeing starting before pregnancy – at preconception and continuing throughout the very early years to encourage healthy family lifestyles. Families need consistent, simple, advice to get back on the right track if we are going to halt the obesity epidemic.”