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Growing up in the UK

Growing up in the UK - Ensuring a healthy future for our children

Our latest major report Growing up in the UK builds on a report we published in 1999 called Growing Up in Britain. As we launch an updated edition, the BMA acknowledges that some progress has been made but we are concerned these improvements are likely to be reversed.

Find out more about what has changed:

  • Download the full report
  • Review the key recommendations
  • Read detailed analysis
  • Send us your comments

Growing Up in the UK - Download report

Growing Up in the UK - May 2013

The full report
Growing Up in the UK - Ensuring a healthy future for our children
(PDF, 1.2mb)

Download report chapters (PDFs)

Foreword by Professor Averil Mansfield
Foreword by Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green Kt

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Setting the scene
Chapter 3 - Inequalities in child health
Chapter 4 - Nutrition
Chapter 5 - Child maltreatment: moving towards a public health approach
Chapter 6 - The child with a disability
Chapter 7 - Emotional and behavioural problems
Chapter 8 - Fetal origins of adult disease
Chapter 9 - Conclusions and summary
Chapter 10 - Recommendations for childhood health: a life-course approach

Appendices - 1 to 6 (combined)
References - All chapters (combined)


Key recommendations in the report

  • There should be an annual report on the health of the nation's children to review trends and assess what work best to improve child well-being.
  • There should be accountability at ministerial level for children's health and well-being and responsibility for implementing a framework of monitoring, reviewing and remedying processes.
  • Children's services should be family-centred and focused on the importance of parenting, where the child and family are treated as a unit.
  • Identify families where lifestyle could affect the health of the unborn child - for example a household where parents smoke, take drugs, misuse alcohol - and invest in community and family support schemes to tackle these issues.
  • Multi-disciplinary working between social services, education authorities, healthcare teams, police services and others should be made easier.
  • Tackle the poverty that lies at the roots of most health disadvantages. This could include developing evidence-based initiatives such as Sure Start or improving the quality of social and other housing.
  • Provide evidence-based parenting courses and raise awareness about the benefits of breastfeeding.
  • Provide education and practical support on healthy eating. This should include ensuring that schools provide nutritional meals and compulsory cooking classes.


News, views and analysis

Read our detailed news, analysis and comment on our blog.


The UK is failing our most vulnerable children, says new BMA report
Press release, 16 May 2013

UK failing children, says BMA
BMA news story, 16 May 2013


Growing up in the UK - what's changed since 1999?
The BMA blog, April 2013


Growing pains across the UK
We've got shelf-loads of policies on how to make things better for child health. There's been much less focus on delivery.

Integration of services and what doctors can do to help
Who is in overall charge of my child?

Shift towards preventative approach needed
Many babies in the womb today are receiving unbalanced and inadequate diets


What do you think about child health?

red circle question markResearch highlighted in the report claims that changes to the tax and benefits system will have a negative impact on vulnerable households - do you agree?

red circle question markWhat sorts of measures do you think are needed to make a long-term, positive impact on improving the health and wellbeing of children?

red circle question markWhat role can health professionals play?

Need practical advice?

Health professionals are often the first to have contact with children or families in difficulty.

Therefore, providing care for child patients includes providing protection.

We have lots of practical advice and tools to help you provide that care.

Visit Ethics - Children

Related news

Read a selection of child health related news stories.

Contact us

Send us your comments or questions on child health and child protection.

Let us know what we can do to support you.

Email us