Europe commits to leaving no child behind

An article by WHO
December 7, 2016
Copenhagen and Paris, 7 December 2016
 
The health status of people in the WHO European Region is advancing, but not all children have the same chances of healthy growth and millions are being left behind. In 20 out of 28 European Union countries, children are at higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than adults.
 
For the first time, representatives of the health, social and education sectors from over 40 European countries, including experts from international organizations and civil society, will come together in Paris, France, on 7–8 December 2016 at the WHO high-level conference Working together for better health and well-being. They will take concrete steps to address the social determinants of health and strengthen social protection as a means to give all children the best start in life.
 
“If we are truly committed to improving the health of our children and future generations we must act together and act now,” says Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “The health sector alone cannot address the full range of policies that shape the conditions in which our children grow and that in turn influence their chances of a healthy and happy life. We now have a unique opportunity to bridge the silos that separate us and ensure that each and every child is not falling through the gaps.”
 
Investing in early childhood development pays off
 
Providing universal access to quality and affordable education in early years is one of the most powerful ways to ensure fair health, social and economic opportunities – even before a child reaches school age. Data show that:
•a 2% increase in current spending on early childhood development could pay back up to 9 times that value in economic and social benefits; and
•not investing in early childhood development for those at the highest risk of poverty can lead to a 26% drop in productivity.
 
The recently released Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey found that young people’s health and well-being are clearly influenced by gender and socioeconomic determinants. Adolescents from poorer families tend to have poorer health, higher levels of obesity and lower life satisfaction. They also have less support from friends and families compared to their wealthier peers.
 
Acess original article and check out examples of synergy for better health outcomes here
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