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Video instructions and help with filling out and completing Are Form 2220 Developments

Instructions and Help about Are Form 2220 Developments

Today I want to confess something to you but first of all I'm going to ask you a couple of questions how many people here have children and how many of you are confident that you know how to bring up your children in exactly the right way okay I don't see too many hands going up on that second one and that's my confession too I've got three boys they're three nine and twelve and like you and like most parents the honest truth is I have pretty much no idea what I'm doing I know I want them to be happy and healthy in their lives but I don't really know what I'm supposed to do to make sure that they are happy and healthy I mean there's so many books out there offering all kinds of conflicting advice it can be really overwhelming so I've spent most of their lives just making it up as I go along however something changed me a few years ago when I came across a little secret that we haven't written it's helped me become more confident about how I bring up my own children and it's revealed a lot about how we as a society can help all children I want to share that secret with you today for the last 70 years scientists and Britain have been following thousands and thousands of children through their lives as part of an incredible scientific study there's nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world collecting information on thousands of children is a really powerful thing to do because it means we can compare the ones who say do well at school or end up happy or healthy or wealthy as adults and the ones who struggle much more and then we can sift through all the information we've collected and try to work out why their lives turned out different this British study it's actually a kind of crazy story so it all starts back in 1946 just a few months after the end of the war when scientists wanted to know what it was like for women to have a baby at the time they carried out this huge survey of mothers and ended up recording the birth of nearly every baby born in England Scotland and Wales in one week that was nearly 14 thousand babies the questions they asked these women back then are very different than the ones we might ask today they sound really old-fashioned now they ask them things like during pregnancy did get your full extra ration of a pint of milk a day how much did you spend on smokes corsets night dresses knickers and brassieres and this is my favorite one who looked after your husband while you were in bed with this baby now this war time study actually ended up being so successful that scientists did it again they recorded the births of thousands of babies born in 1958 and thousands more in 1970 they did it again in the early 1990s and again at the turn of the millennium altogether more than 70,000 children have been involved in these studies across those five generations they called the British birth cohorts and scientists have gone back and recorded more information on all of these people every few years ever since the amount of information that's now being collected on these people is just completely mind-boggling it includes thousands of paper questionnaires and terabytes worth of computer data scientists have also built up a huge Bank of tissue samples which includes locks of hair nail clippings baby teeth and DNA they've even collected 9,000 placentas from some of the births which are now pickled in plastic buckets in a secure storage warehouse this whole project has become unique so no other country in the world is tracking generations of children in quite this detail these are some of the best studied people on the planet and the data has become incredibly valuable for scientists generating well over 6,000 academic papers and books but today I want to focus on just one finding perhaps the most important discovery to come from this remarkable study and it's also the one that spoke to me personally because it's about how to use science to do the best for our children so let's get the bad news out the way first perhaps the biggest message from this remarkable study is this don't be born into poverty and when to disadvantage because if you are you're far more likely to walk a difficult path in life many children in this study were born into poor families or into working-class families that had cramped homes or other problems and it's clear now that those disadvantaged children have been more likely to struggle on almost every score they've been more likely to do worse at school to land up with worse jobs and to earn less money now maybe that sounds really obvious but some of the results have been really surprising so children who had a tough start in life also more likely to end up unhealthy as adults they're more likely to be overweight to have high blood pressure and then decades down the line more likely to have a failing memory poor health and even to die earlier now I talked about what happens later but some of these differences emerged to really shockingly early age in one study children who were growing up in poverty were almost a year behind the Richer children on educational tests and that was by the age of just three these types of differences have been found again and again across the generations it means that our early circumstances have a profound influence on the way that the rest of our lives play out and working out why that is is one of the most difficult questions that we face today so there we have it first.

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