Infancy and childhood are of critical importance in the development of healthy bodies and habits. For example, breastfeeding gives babies all the nutrients they need and provides both mother and baby with a range of health benefits. The current advice is to continue for six months or longer.

The statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) says that where Early Years settings give children meals, snacks and drinks, these must be healthy balanced and nutritious. Further information about the EYFS is available in this section of the website.

Sure Start children's centres aim to equip parents, carers and Early Years practitioners with the information they need to give families and young children the healthiest possible start in life. This includes encouraging
families to adopt healthy eating patterns from the outset of a child's life, and for children and families to be more physically active. 

The Department of Health's Start4Life (from birth to the Early Years – ages 0-5) and Change4Life (from Early Years onwards – ages 5+) campaign to raise awareness about diet and physical activity. They have played a role in promoting healthy lifestyles in children's centres. Visit the Change4Life website for more information.