On Thursday, July 25, 2019 the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, Medicine released their new report, Vibrant and Healthy Kids: Aligning Science, Practice, and Policy to Advance Health Equity.
The report outlines steps needed to move all children toward positive health paths and reducing health gaps. Children are the foundation of the United States, and supporting them is a key component of building a successful future. However, millions of children face health inequities that significantly thwart their development, well-being, and long-term outcomes, despite substantial scientific evidence about how those adversities contribute to poor health outcomes.
Research shows that prevention and early intervention are effective for children living in circumstances that put them at risk (such as living in poverty or being exposed to chronic adversity). Practice, policy, and systems-level changes informed by science can reduce the odds of adverse exposures, narrow health disparities, and advance health equity.
The report provides a roadmap containing several short and long term recommendations to advance health equity to practice, policy, and systems:
• Intervene early
• Support the well-being of parents and primary caregivers
• Create supportive and stable early living conditions such as reduce barriers to food assistance and other economic benefits to meet families’ basic needs
• Maximize the impact of early care and education to promote health outcomes
• Reform health care system services to promote healthy development
• Integrate and coordinate resources across systems
The report outlines practice, policy, and systems changes needed to support the well-being of children starting with supporting the well-being of their caregivers. The recommendations of how to reduce health disparities are aimed at the root causes including poverty and racism rather than the immediate needs of children and families. Visit http://nationalacademies.org/VibrantHealthyKids to access the full report.