Independent report

Chief Medical Officer annual report 2012: children and young people’s health

Annual report on children and young people’s health from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally C Davies.

Applies to England


Chapter 1: Chief Medical Officer’s summary

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Chapter 2: overview

Chapter 6: life stage: early years

Chapter 7: life stage: school years

Chapter 8: life stage: adolescence

Chapter 12: youth justice

Chapter 13: future challenges

Annex 1: recommendations

Annex 2: acknowledgements

Annex 3: summary for children

Annex 5: summary for families

Annex 7: summary for head teachers


The Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Dame Sally C Davies, has published this volume of her annual report 2012.

The CMO’s report is released in 2 volumes every year. One volume presents data trends across public health; the other looks at a specific area of concern, which this year is children and young people’s health.

The CMO asked experts to collect information and put together the pieces to understand the major health issues facing children. She wanted to hear the voices of families and children so she held workshops to talk about topics such as attitudes to food and exercise.

A large number of experts contributed data to the report, which looks at children and young people from before birth to age 25. It also looks at several particular groups of children and young people: those with neurodevelopmental disabilities, those with mental health problems, looked-after children and those in the youth justice system.

The CMO asked for an update to the information held in the NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare for Children and Young People; and this is included as one of the annexes to the report.

The main findings in the report include:

  • spending money to help people early isn’t just a good thing to do, it’s sensible too. Sometimes a little help early on can make a huge difference to a person’s life. Children and young people should get help and information as soon as they need it.
  • the CMO has asked Cabinet Office, Public Health England and the Children’s Commissioner to consider holding a National Children’s Week every year
  • people who work with children and young people should be trained to listen and behave in a way that makes sense. They shouldn’t use complicated or confusing words.
  • schools and local councils should try to find a way to make sports facilities and swimming pools easier for everyone to use
Published 24 October 2013