PHRC Phase 1 (2005-2011) projects – Cross-cutting projects

D3-07: Will policies for the early years reduce inequalities in health? A synthesis of evidence to inform policy development, using the examples of unintentional injury and childcare

Lead investigator

Professor Catherine Law, Institute of Child Health, UCL


Policies in the early years (conception to early childhood) were important planks of the Labour Government's overall strategy to tackle inequalities in health and the determinants of inequalities in health. However, some indicators of early health, such as infant mortality rates, show widening inequalities.

Aims, methods and contribution

This project examined how policies in the early years might be expected

to influence health inequalities. It used review of policy documents and

commentaries to construct a conceptual framework and then more detailed

models of how policies might be working. It then tested the steps in

these models using review of the scientific literature and secondary

data analysis. Finally, it synthesised the results of these analyses and

interpreted this synthesis in the light of current and potential


September 2007 - February 2010 (30 months)