EYN Partnership: Panel of Experts - Chris Pascal

26-May-2016

The Early Years Nutrition (EYN) Partnership has been established as an independent social enterprise with the ambition that every child in England aged under five will have access to expert nutrition support within their early years setting. 

A 'partnership approach' lies at the heart of the EYN Partnership model, and as such an Expert Panel of Early Years professionals have been consulted to share their views in what is the partnerships first report.

CREC director, Professor Chris Pascal, shared her views on early childhood nutrition and obesity as part of this report:

"As an early childhood educationalist and political advocate for improving young children’s social mobility through high quality early education and care, my work is all about improving the life chances of children, and particularly those who are less advantaged.

I see children’s development and learning as key to their long-term social mobility. I am convinced that having a healthy diet means young children live a better quality of life, both psychologically and socially, which enables them to achieve more.

We have a crisis in relation to current eating patterns, which is particularly impacting on those who live in poverty, or are less advantaged in other ways. This will have a deep impact on children’s quality of life. It is in the very early stages of life that these long-term dietary habits are ingrained, which gives us a window of time when something can be done to improve family nutrition.

I believe the EYN Partnership will make a valuable contribution to this and add value to local authorities who are struggling to maintain support. It is imperative that we deploy early intervention strategies to ensure the prevention of obesity, and encourage the health and childcare sectors to work collectively to pool resources and offer consistent and strong messages.

This will be a real investment and save money in the long-term, so there is an economic argument but, for me, it is more than that. It is an ethical and moral issue that conveys what we as a society want to prioritise, and I believe the health and wellbeing of our communities should be at the heart of our actions, especially for the young.

Ofsted has a vital role to play as the key regulatory body for early childhood settings. It can and does drive what goes on within settings. Therefore, working to ensure that settings are meeting their Ofsted requirements and providing ‘healthy eating’ [pg26] as part of a wider health and wellbeing agenda, will form an important element of the work of the EYN Partnership.

I care deeply about this, and believe that the Government’s upcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy will become a marker that we as a society have recognised this issue. A marker that shows that we collectively care about it and are willing to bring resources to bear to change this trajectory. I am hoping that the very early years is a key element in this strategy."

- Professor Chris Pascal, OBE


You can view and download the full EYN Partnership report by clicking the picture.


 

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