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Health matters: giving every child the best start in life

Public Health England (PHE) wants to increase the proportion of children ready to learn at 2 and ready for school at 5.

This resource for health professionals and local authorities is about investing in early years services from pregnancy to age 2.

What happens in pregnancy and early childhood impacts on physical and emotional health all the way through to adulthood.

Supporting good maternal health is important for safe delivery and good birth weight to give babies the best start. The prevention of adverse health factors in pregnancy is vital. Premature and small babies are more likely to have poorer outcomes.

The earliest experiences, starting in the womb, shape a baby’s brain development.

During the first 2 years of life the brain displays a remarkable capacity to absorb information and adapt to its surroundings.

Positive early experience is therefore vital to ensure children are ready to learn, ready for school and have good life chances.