More than 100 settings achieve London's healthy early years award

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The Mayor of London congratulated nurseries and children's centres on achieving the Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) awards at an event at City Hall.

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan with Healthy Early Years London Award winners at City Hall, photo courtesy of James O'Jenkins-Greater London Authority

During the event, it was announced that the Chief Medical Officer's updated physical activity guidelines for children will be published later this year.

The announcement was made by Kathryn Hesketh, Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellow who has provided the research for the revised guidelines.

The revised guidelines for under-fives, children, young people and adults will provide an update to the current guidelines which were published eight years ago in 2011.

Also speaking at the event, which was organised to celebrate the first anniversary of the Mayor’s Healthy Early Years London (HEYL) awards programme for early years settings, was the deputy mayor for education and childcare Joanne McCartney, the chief executive of the London Early Years Foundation (LEYF) nursery group June O’Sullivan, Dr Mike Loosemore, NHS consultant in sport and exercise medicine at University College London, along with staff from nurseries and children’s centres across the City participating in the programme.

Launched last year, HEYL is an awards scheme which supports and recognises early years settings’ achievements in child health, well-being and development.

Its aim is to help reduce health inequalities by giving young children a healthy start.

Under the programme, participating early years settings can achieve bronze, silver and gold awards by demonstrating best practice across themes that include healthy eating, oral and physical health and early cognitive development.

Speaking at the event, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan revealed they are close to meeting their target of having 10 per cent of nurseries, children’s centres, playgroups and childminders in London registered with the scheme. Currently over 1,100 settings have signed up.

Of those signed up, 83 have achieved the bronze award, 32 silver and three gold.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said, ‘I want to congratulate all the settings that have joined the Healthy Early Years London programme and am delighted at how quickly so many have risen to our challenge. The health and well-being of our children is a key priority which is why it is vital to equip young Londoners to look after their health from an early age.

‘It simply cannot be right that the place a child grows up or the income of their household plays such a significant role in determining their future health.

‘Whether by encouraging physical activity, providing nutritious lunches and snacks or helping children understand and articulate their feelings, Healthy Early Years London empowers children, parents, guardians and early years professionals to make good health a daily habit.’

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