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Leicester's Care, Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2022-2027

Theme 3: Healthy Start

Ambition: To give Leicester's children the best start in life

Children having a race in a sunny garden

Having the healthiest possible start in life increases the prospects of positive mental and physical health in the future. There are many factors that influence the health and wellbeing of our children and young people, from the health and lifestyle choices of mothers during pregnancy, the environment in which a child grows up and the education that child receives.

For the best start for life for Leicester’s children, we need to support the mother to breastfeed, ensuring the child is immunised, and supporting the child to develop good communication skills and healthy behaviours such as practising good oral hygiene and exercising regularly.

Activities that instil confidence and resilience in children are the key to supporting positive mental health. We also recognise the possible impact of emerging issues such as new technologies, including social media, on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Key issues affecting children and young people in Leicester with examples of what we are doing to improve people’s opportunities to live a healthy life

Baby with cuddly toy

Early years health

Infant mortality in Leicester is higher than the national average. Risk factors include poor maternal/family lifestyle choices, including smoking in pregnancy and in the house with babies and children, not breastfeeding and not immunising infants.
Smiling girl at activity table

Mental health

One in ten children between five and 15 years suffers from poor mental health. This rate has increased through the COVID-19 pandemic. One in four children has a parent at risk of developing a common mental health problem.

We are working with education settings and workplaces to raise awareness and encourage early identification and support for mental health.  This approach will support children to remain included within their education setting. Programmes from universal to specialist actively engage children and young people and those who work with them.

Healthy eating and exercise

Childhood obesity in Leicester is higher than it is nationally, due to a number of different reasons.

We are encouraging more school-age children to be physically active by encouraging each school in Leicester to take part in the Daily Mile initiative.

Mother and toddler looking at a museum display


Many children across Leicester have poor communication skills compared to other areas of the country.

To support families to improve early communication and use of home language, we are enabling professionals across the wider workforce and the community to promote good communication skills from 0-25.

Adult showing toddler how to squeeze toothpaste

Oral health

Leicester has one of the worst rates of children’s oral health in the country. This is particularly the case amongst under-fives.

We are supporting children and families to develop good oral hygiene from an early age by signing up nurseries and other early year settings to the Healthy Teeth, Happy Smiles programme.