Nutrition and growth
What a child eats, what a child drinks, and what activity a child takes, all have a decisive impact on a child's current health, and future development into an adult.
As part of the 2012 RCPCH Plan, the College has launched a major, evidence-based campaign to improve child health through improved nutrition and reduction in obesity. You can follow our work, including updates, events and publications, on this page.
We welcome new ideas: click here to contact our health policy lead via email.
See our events pages for upcoming educational programmes, conferences and events.
Improving practice and reducing the risks of using parenteral nutrition for children
This report will help practitioners from all professions improve practice and reduce the risks in the provision of Parenteral Nutrition (PN) for children and neonates. The chief pharmacists from specialists children’s hospitals the Paediatric Chief Pharmacists Group along with colleagues have scoped current practice across the UK and have made recommendations to improve practice and reduce risks in the provision of PN for neonates and children.
July 2013: The WHO released two documents relating to feeding and follow-on milks.
November 2012: First Steps has updated their guidance on infant milks to include a statement on probiotics and an amended list of milks that are appropriate at different ages and stages. This updated document provides information on the composition of infant milks available for sale in the UK and summarises some of the key issues related to infant milks.
October 2012: UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative have oublished a new report 'Preventing disease and saving resources: the potential contribution of increasing breastfeeding rates in the UK'.
Research commissioned by UNICEF UK reveals that low breastfeeding rates in the UK are costing the NHS millions of pounds. The report takes an in-depth look at how raising breastfeeding rates would save money through reducing illness.
RCPCH Health Promotion Officer Professor Mitch Blair said "RCPCH recognises the important contribution breastfeeding can make to the health of mothers and children in the short and long term. It recognises the need to promote and invest in services which aim to support all mothers so that they can breastfeed as long as is desirable"
The RCPCH stongly encourages mothers to breastfeed and supports the UNICEF Baby Friendly Initiative.
February 2012: the Chief Medical Officers of the United Kingdom CMOs have sent a letter giving advice to health professionals about Vitamin D supplements for groups at risk of deficiency, including infants and young children.
In October 2011 the RCPCH co-signed a letter requesting that the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency urgently review any applications for licensed vitamin D products and clarify the timescale within which licensed products will become available. Read the
An information booklet about Vitamin D for healthcare professionals and patients has been published by the Department for Health. Click here to read or download the leafelt from the DH website for free.
The Junior MARSIPAN (Management of Really Sick Patients with Anorexia Nervosa') Project released its report (RCPsych, 2012) identifying the challenges faced by young people, families and clinicans when young people with eating disorders are admitted to adult medical units.
Child growth charts are a useful tool for paediatricians in assessing physical health and progress. To access the UK-WHO growth charts and for more information on their use, including videos demonstrating how to measure children correctly, see the webpage.
Growth charts for children from the age of four to eighteen years are currently in development.
Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action The Scottish Government, 2011. In early 2011 the Scottish Governement produced this framework for action, which can be taken by NHS Boards, local authorities and others to improve the nutrition of pregnant women, babies and young children in Scotland. It is hoped that this will lead to better incorporation of nutrition education in the training of doctor and nurses.
The RCPCH has worked with various partners to create a selection of e-learning programmes for healthcare professionals. The following programmes include nutrition related content:
- Adolescent Health Programme. AHP is an e-learning resource helping healthcare professionals to get the right knowledge & skills to help their young patients lead healthier and more active lives. AHP is free to NHS UK staff. Visit Module 12 to learn about Overweight & Underweight issues in adolescents.
- Healthy Child Programme. HCP is an e-learning resource designed for all healthcare professionals working with pregnancy and the first five years of life. HCP is free to NHS UK staff. There are several useful sessions within the programme that explore nutrition related issues.
- Breastfeeding Distance Learning Course, with York University is supported by the RCPCH. This innovative, evidence-based programme was developed by a team at the Mother and Infant Research Unit in the University of York, known nationally and internationally for its research in maternal and infant nutrition.
Contact the Education Projects team for more information.
Associated Publications, Resources and Links
- RCPCH International
'Working with partners in the UK and overseas to advance global child health' News ...
- British National Formulary for Children (BNFC)
The British National Formulary for Children (BNFC) presents essential practical information to help ...
- Chairman's Welcome
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- Stakeholder organisations
The following organisations have registered as project stakeholders or are partners in the National Epilepsy Audit: ...
- Four Children's Commissioners unite to protect children's rights
March 2011: RCPCH Policy Event: 'Four Children's Commissioners unite to protect children's rights' All ...
Our obesity page will update members, the health profession, parents and carers on the progress of the RCPCH objective ...