The ‘First Thousand Days’ refers to the period from conception to the child’s second birthday. It is increasingly gaining traction as a concept to guide public health policy. It is seen as a crucial window of opportunity for interventions that improve child and population health. This review outlines the origin and growth of the First Thousand Days concept, and the evidence behind it, particularly in the areas of brain development and cognition; mental and emotional health; nutrition and obesity; programming and economic benefits. The review then describes UK experience of use of the concept to inform policy, and a recent government inquiry that mandates more widespread implementation.
- comm child health
- health economics
- general paediatrics
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Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published online. There is a factual error regarding the funding of the A Better Start programme. This sentence: ‘A Better Start’ is a 10-year, £215 million programme by the National Children’s Bureau, funded by the National Lottery' has been changed to ‘A Better Start’ is a 10-year, £215 million programme, funded by the National Lottery.'
Contributors JD wrote the first draft of the manuscript, drawing on documents written for Leeds City Council by JB. PDB, JB and MCJR all contributed to the final draft.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement No data are available. Not applicable.
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