A Healthy Start to Life

Acting early to keep our children healthy is one of the most powerful investments our society can make. For the most disadvantaged families, a healthy start to life can help lift children out of generational cycles of poverty and unhealthy environments and give them the best health and life opportunities.

National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission Fact Sheet

A healthy start to life
Early childhood
More information

Acting early to keep our children healthy is one of the most powerful investments our society can make. For the most disadvantaged families, a healthy start to life can help lift children out of generational cycles of poverty and unhealthy environments and give them the best health and life opportunities.

A healthy start to life

The health system needs to nurture a healthy start to life, based on:
Universal child and family health services are needed to provide all children from birth to eight years of age an evidence-based schedule of core contacts for advice and support, and periodic health monitoring.

The initial contact should be a home visit, within two weeks after birth. If needed, parents should be provided a pathway to targeted care. If a child needs more intensive care, a care co-ordinator should be available.

Responsibility for nurturing a healthy start to life should be embedded in primary health care. For instance, families should have the opportunity to be enrolled with a primary health care service.

Early childhood

All primary schools should have access to a child or family health nurse for promoting and monitoring children’s health.

There should also be a national expansion of the pre-school and school dental programs.

More information

This is a summary of some of the major recommendations of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission. Full recommendations can be found in A Healthier Future For All Australians – Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission – June 2009

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Page last updated 27 July, 2009