Investment in the Early Years to Reduce Health Inequities
The health care system is grappling with the issue of health inequities because it varies from one population to another depending on their social and economic conditions. One of the effective ways of reducing health inequalities in a given population is improving the health conditions of children from their early years of pregnancy and childhood. According to World Health Organization, “investment in the early years provides one of the greatest potentials to reduce health inequities within a generation.” The statement means that prenatal and antenatal care that children and their mothers receive plays a significant role in the growth and development of a child. Since nutrition determines the growth and development of children, mothers should ensure that they take appropriate nutrition during pregnancy and nursing periods so that their children can obtain the right nutrition for their growth and development.
The statement also implies that investing in early childhood development reduces health inequities within a certain generation. Early childhood development is a determinant of the health conditions of children since it encompasses cognitive, physical, and social aspects of children. Heuvel et al. state that “healthy early childhood development influences obesity, stunted growth, mental health, heart disease, competence in literacy and numeracy, criminality, and economic participation.” In essence, investment in early childhood development should focus on the physical and cognitive development of children so that they can have robust lives. For a society to optimize the growth and development of children, it must provide social support systems such as stable families, caring homes, motivating schools, and safe society. Hence, investment in early childhood development is important in reducing health inequities, which are common across communities.