New Health Inequalities content on the maternal and early years website

Date: 20th August 2013
Category: Basic Health and Welfare
Author: NHS Health Scotland

NHS Health Scotland has added new content to the Maternal and Early Years website highlighting the causes and impact of health inequalities on 12 areas of a child's life between 0-8 years and how the early years workforce can help address them.

A child's early life circumstances and experiences shape their physical, social, mental, cognitive and emotional development. Negative experiences can have a lifelong impact on health learning and behaviour.

Health inequalities are unfair differences in the health of the population which occur across social classes or population groups. They are the result of social circumstances and they are not inevitable. Poorer outcomes are a consequence of many adverse and complex social factors coming together rather than the result of a single cause.

These factors can impact on parents' ability to meet the needs of their children. They are not set in stone, but interact and can be influenced by interventions which tackle the context in which people live. Opportunities to reduce the inequalities that result from these factors decline as a child gets older.

The new content provides an overview of health inequalities and the policy context. It also details how health inequalities can relate to 12 areas of a child's life including; growth and development, and speech and language development, and the potential impact inequalities can have if they do occur. The content includes key information on how anyone working with families and children can identify those at risk of health inequalities and how they can help mitigate against their impact to ensure every child has the best start in life.


  • Access the new content here.