Reducing health inequalities by addressing the social circumstances in which children are conceived and raised is a societal priority. Early interventions are key to improving outcomes in childhood and long-term into adulthood. Across the UK nations, there is strong political commitment to invest in the early years. National policy interventions aim to tackle health inequalities and deliver health equity for all children. Evidence to determine the effectiveness of socio-structural policies on child health outcomes is especially pressing given the current social and economic challenges facing policy-makers and families with children. As an alternative to clinical trials or evaluating local interventions, we propose a research framework that supports evaluating the impact of whole country policies on child health outcomes. Three key research challenges must be addressed to enable such evaluations and improve policy for child health: (1) policy prioritisation, (2) identification of comparable data and (3) application of robust methods. [Abstract copyright: © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.]
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the UK Prevention Research Partnership (award reference MR/S037608/1), which is funded by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Welsh Government), Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Natural Environment Research Council, Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), The Health Foundation and Wellcome. RD, AL, AP and ES are funded by the Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00022/2) and the Scottish Government Chief Scientist Office (SPHSU17). AP also receives support from the Wellcome Trust (205412/Z/16/Z). This research was supported in part by the NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre and the Health Data Research UK (grant No. LOND1), which is funded by the UK Medical Research Council and eight other funders. KH is funded by the NIHR (17/99/19).
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2023. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ.
- CHILD HEALTH
- HEALTH POLICY
- Health inequalities
- MATERNAL HEALTH