Creature comfort

Our pets make us smile and laugh – but they might also help improve the health of the nation. Should CPs be making greater use of animal-assisted therapy?

Is there a crisis of childhood?

Children in the UK are buckling as a result of unprecedented social pressures, political turmoil and a void in government policies that should keep them safe and well, says a recent report. Journalist Jo Waters asks what can be done to help avert a crisis.

Big story: more harm than good

Rates of self-harm are rising steeply, especially among young women, but the majority are still not able to access the right medical or psychological care. Can you play a helpful role? Journalist Juliette Astrup investigates.

Australia: Feeling the beat is a step towards child self-regulation skills

Marching, wiggling and tapping a beat helps young children develop self-regulation skills and improves school readiness, research published in Psychology of Music has found.

Ireland: Second-hand smoke linked to increased risk of child obesity

The children of women who do not smoke are less likely to become overweight or obese, report researchers from University College Cork.

The daily grind

Millions of people in the UK of all ages have one form of arthritis or another, and pain can be the biggest obstacle to a normal life, says journalist John Windell.

England: BMI is higher in children of separated parents

The body mass index (BMI) of children who have separated parents is significantly higher than that of children whose families have stayed intact.

Canada: Energetic play in early childhood can keep heart healthy in later life

Physical activity in children as young as three can prevent early risk indicators that lead to adult heart disease, research has found.

Wales: Welsh legislation focuses on quality of health and social care

A health and social care bill that would introduce an ‘organisational duty of candour’ to encourage openness and transparency in NHS organisations has been introduced to the National Assembly for Wales.

Scotland: Government targets child weight-management inequality with £1.7m boost for health boards

The Scottish Government is giving £1.7m to health boards as part of its push to reduce the number of overweight under-18s by half by 2030.

England and Wales: Infant mortality rates rise for third year running in England and Wales

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show infant mortality rates in England and Wales have risen for the third year running.

England: Change4Life highlights wellbeing boost from exercise

Change4Life, a campaign run by Public Health England (PHE), is highlighting the positive impact of exercise on wellbeing with the launch of Disney-inspired short bursts of activity.

Putting children at the heart of policy

Sally Star explores the emergence of ground-breaking Welsh legislation and public health strategies on keeping the nation’s children safe.

USA: Napping associated with a host of benefits for older children

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found a connection between midday naps in older children and greater happiness, self-control, academic achievement and fewer behavioural problems.

UK: New framework for training in infant mental health

A new competencies framework has been launched to help practitioners working with children from birth to two years to identify gaps in their training.

UK: New guide on childhood trauma published

Three charities have produced a new guide on childhood adversity and trauma for professionals working with children.

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