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Early Childhood Development: A report for the Royal Society of Canada

Early Childhood Development: A report for the Royal Society of Canada

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Published by The Province
It is generally accepted that adolescent and adult mental health, effective function, and well-being are the outcomes of a complex interaction of biological, social and environmental factors. Acting on a request from the Norlien Foundation of Calgary, the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences have established jointly a panel of experts to consider this important issue.
It is generally accepted that adolescent and adult mental health, effective function, and well-being are the outcomes of a complex interaction of biological, social and environmental factors. Acting on a request from the Norlien Foundation of Calgary, the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences have established jointly a panel of experts to consider this important issue.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: The Province on Nov 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/04/2012

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This Report makes a strong case, based upon evidence from epidemiology, biology and
intervention research, for focusing on the early years as a time to break the cycle linking early
childhood experiences to mental health problems and unhealthy behaviours in adolescence and
young adulthood. This evidence is fortuitous, because it reinforces other powerful reasons for
investing in the early years. According to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the

282 Somerset Street West, Ottawa ON, K2P 0J6 • Tel: 613-991-6990 • www.rsc-src.ca | 126

Child, Canada has a duty to both protect young children from adverse experiences and, also, to
create the opportunity for young children’s capacities to develop their potential (United Nations,
1991, 2005). In other words, Canada has committed itself both to prevent the negative and to
create the positive in the early years. Next, the World Health Organization’s Commission on the
Social Determinants of Health (World Health Organization, 2008) made it clear that investing in
the early years may be the best way to reduce health inequalities across the life course. Finally, a
consensus among economists has emerged that economic returns on investment in the early
years, through enhanced school success, reduced criminality, and improved well-being are,
potentially, greater than any other investment in health, education, or human development that a
wealthy society can make (Heckman, 2006). For all these reasons, Canadian children and their
families deserve a robust strategy for tackling unhealthy behaviours and mental health through
investment in the early years.

282 Somerset Street West, Ottawa ON, K2P 0J6 • Tel: 613-991-6990 • www.rsc-src.ca | 127

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