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Christian GP backs call for free vitamins for all under-fives

Thu 24 Oct 2013
By Sarah McAllister

England's chief medical officer says she's "shocked" and "saddened" at the state of children's health.

Parents are being urged to take control of their children's wellbeing as a new report suggests the health of Britain's youngsters is so poor that their life chances may actually be worse than their parents' generation.

Christian GP Rebecca Payne has been giving her reaction to the annual review which has been put together by Professor Dame Sally Davies. England's chief medical officer is suggesting a number of ways to tackle the problem after claiming we're lagging behind other similar nations.

The report claims nearly 13% of toddlers are obese while 25% lack a sufficient amount of vitamin D which can lead to the bone deforming condition rickets.

Writing the foreword to the study, Dame Sally said it's vital we take action.

She said: "We cannot waste the lives of children, we need to ensure we have a healthy population able to ensure our continued economic viability; we need to make sure our children start school ready and able to learn, and leave school fit for work. Such strong evidence should never be ignored: rarely in health are there such opportunities to improve lives as well as show economic benefit - surely addressing this means acting not just because our hearts tell us to do so, but because, with increasingly clear evidence, our heads should also encourage us."

One of the main suggestions - if implemented - would see all under-fives get free vitamins. Currently only low incomes families have free access to Vitamin A, C and D. Dame Sally said tackling some of the problems early would save taxpayers' money in the long run. Speaking this morning she said we should be 'profoundly ashamed' at the state of our children's health.

Dr Rebecca Payne told Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour we all have a role to play in improving the situation.

Other suggestions made in the report include an annual survey on the state of youngster's mental health which would draw comparisons with other nations and help to focus on areas of concern. Another suggestion is to introduce a new national children's week which would be set up to celebrate children and young people. Dame Sally said this would identify where we stand on various issues and would create an opportunity to highlight how to improve wellbeing.

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