What is it about?

The “First Thousand Days” refers to the period from conception to the child’s second birthday. It is a crucial window of opportunity for interventions that improve child and population health. We outline the evidence for the First Thousand Days concept, in the areas of: brain development and cognition; mental and emotional health; nutrition and obesity; programming; and economic benefits. We then describe UK experience in Leeds (West Yorkshire) and Wales, and a recent government inquiry that mandates more widespread implementation.

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Why is it important?

The First 1000 days a a potentially powerful concept to influence commissioning and investment for child health. When there are drivers to invest in other societal priorities, it makes the case for maintaining investment in early life.


I was struck by the priority that Leeds City Council had given to continuing investment in early childhood, despite reduced budgets and austerity. This was informed by the First 1000 Days concept. I wanted to share more widely, particularly for a paediatric audience.

Dr Jonathan C Darling
University of Leeds

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The First Thousand Days: early, integrated and evidence-based approaches to improving child health: coming to a population near you?, Archives of Disease in Childhood, February 2020, BMJ,
DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-316929.
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