This report details the latest scientific information about factors impacting health and how to achieve equitable promotion of health for all children. Multilevel and multipronged strategies focused on prevention, early detection and referral, and mitigation are needed to gain momentum toward achieving health equity. These strategies involve intervening at the policy, system, and program levels—this will ultimately require a concerted effort from the nation to distribute resources where they are needed and change policies to better align with the science and evidence. With this in mind, where possible, the committee sought to leverage existing resources or systems that serve children as platforms by which to improve and scale services for children. Further, intentional strategies to understand and reduce inequitable outcomes, access, and experiences across communities of different races, linguistic backgrounds, income groups, genders, and geography are needed. Taking action requires a life course lens, multisector collaboration, and ongoing measurement of outcomes that can be assessed longitudinally and across multiple generations. What science teaches us about sensitive periods and the plasticity of the brain and body provides a clear path for action—if we follow that path regarding prevention and mitigation of adversity during this crucial life period, we can turn the tide for our nation’s children. This report provides a roadmap for doing so.
National Research Council 2019. Vibrant and Healthy Kids: Aligning Science, Practice, and Policy to Advance Health Equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25466.