Living & Working | 2016 Boyer Lecture – Mike Marmot – Give every child the best start Lecture No. 2

Living & Working | 2016 Boyer Lecture – Mike Marmot – Give every child the best start
Lecture No. 2

A) The good side of early childhood development is nurturing:
– Psychological
– linguistic
– Emotional
– Social
– Behavioural
B) Bad side early childhood development is:
– Adverse childhood experiences
[Note: Both of these follow the social gradient – The more well-off the family, the better the early childhood development]

– he believes suicide is a response to disempowerment & he believes most health inequality stems from disempowerment
– he views disempowerment is 3 ways:
1) material [enough to provide the basic needs]
2) psychosocial [having control over your life]
3) political [having a voice]

– Good early childhood development gives/develops in children the personal resources they need
– the good & bad things that happen in early childhood sets the stage for health & well-being throughout the lifespan
– the mind is the gateway by which the social environment affects mental & physical health

His report “Fair Society Healthy Lives” had 6 domains of recommendations:
1) give every child the best start in life
– what happens here has a profound effect on their life chances & what happens to their health as an adult
– early childhood experiences have a determining impact upon development
– child development is influenced by the quality of early parenting, which is in turn influenced by the circumstances in which that parenting occurs
[in UK & Australia, the more economically deprived a neighbourhood is, the lower the proportion of children at age 5 that have a good level of development (Cognitive, Linguistic, Social, Emotional, Behavioural)]
– He notes that people of the political class on the right of the political spectrum typically blame poor parenting for such outcomes
– Those on the left say it is poverty and deprivation
– MM Says it is both
– He cites the “millennium birth cohort study”, a national study of England
– It found the lower the income, the worse the early child development outcomes
– He noted that 20% of mothers denied that talking to the child &/or cuddling the child when aged three was good for the child and its development [Such a response seemed to follow the social gradient]
– In summation, the study found that 20% of mothers denied that talking, cuddling, playing, reading to, & singing to the child aged 3 was good for the child’s development, a social gradient showing that the lower the income, the less likely such patenting activities were to occur for the child
– The study also showed that 50% of the differences in social & emotional development & 33% of linguistic development could be attributed to these differences in parenting
[he notes that to change this requires resources – income for books etc., while also providing support for parents & families][in this way, poverty is not destiny]

Adverse Childhood Experiences study by the University ofnSanDiego
– There are three categories of childhood abuse during the first 18 years of life-
A) Psychological: Being frequently put down or sworn at,
B) physical: being in fear of physical harm
C) sexual: being forced into sexual acts
– There are four categories of household dysfunction:
A) Someone in the household was a problem drinker or illicit drug user
B) Mental illness or attempted suicide of a household member
C) Mother treated violently
D) Criminal behaviour of a household member

– He notes that people love to quote Nietzsche – That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger / He contends: It doesn’t actually make us stronger, it actually makes us more likely to get sicker
– the more ACE a person has experienced, the more likely they are to experience depression &/or attempt suicide. It also seems to be linked with: AOD use, promiscuity, & later onset of chronic disease as an adult & acts of domestic violence as an adult
– It is clear that ACE has a long reach into the developing person’s life & they are more frequent the lower one goes down the health social gradient

2) education & lifelong learning to give every child the means of taking control of their lives
3) employment & working conditions
4) a minimum income benchmark to enable a healthy life
5) healthy & sustainable places in which to live & work
6) prevention at the individual & societal levels

THe fewer the years of education, the worse the income & health
– how to overcome? Address the health social gradient


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