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Current levels of childhood obesity could lead to the first cut in life expectancy for 200 years, according to experts, who warn that without direct action, a generation of children will predecease their parents. Mary Evans reports.

Families still face many hurdles to accessing universal, high-quality childcare, despite progress by policymakers. Sharon Charity of Daycare Trust looks at what the Government could be doing to clear the way for them.

Progress in social inclusion depends on earning the trust of those who feel left out, and helping them find ways to take charge. Dr Carol Homden, chief executive of Coram, explains the charity's work in this direction.

The uproar around a current baby-rearing reality TV programme could spell the beginning of the end for the spate of childcare gurus in the media, if its many critics have their way. Catherine Gaunt hears why

Evaluations of Government programmes need to look in the right places, argue the EPPE 3-11 central team.

It is time the Government recognised the need for private day nurseries to make a profit, or its childcare initiatives will not survive, argues Purnima Tanuku.

It is time to change the rules on parental leave, with more leave for fathers and freedom for parents to choose how to split entitlement, says Professor Peter Moss.

Childcare is profitable for some - and costly for others. Helen Penn and Eva Lloyd call for closer scrutiny.

The destinations of strands of money in the Sure Start Early Years and Childcare Grant allocated to local authorities are outlined by Simon Vevers.

PVI providers find little cheer in the Government's changes to rules for funding for the nursery education entitlement.