Children only get one shot at childhood and it is therefore incumbent upon us, whether we are parents, practitioners or politicians, to do what we can to 'get it right for every child' and ensure every child has their fair chance to flourish. As Minister for Public Health and Sport, I am determined to help make Scotland the best place to grow up by seeking to improve the health and wellbeing of everyone in our country.
We know the health and nutrition of the mother before and during pregnancy, and the subsequent infant feeding choices impacts on long term health, which is why we published the Maternal and Infant Nutrition Framework for Action in January 2011. Continuing with the Scottish Maternal and Infant Nutrition Survey is important to enable Scotland to capture information on the choices that pregnant women and new parents make and about their experiences during this time, the impact of our Framework, and what more work we still need to do.
And while we continue to make good progress across many fronts, we remain cognisant of the challenges that remain. Scotland continues to face persistent health inequalities amongst our population creating major public health challenges. But it is also an opportunity to shift our focus towards preventative approaches and to a general improvement in the way we support new parents. Actions and resources targeted at the earliest years offer the best opportunity of preventing future health inequalities. Using the survey findings, we will focus on a range of services and supports aimed at improving the diet and health of the nation.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the parents who took the time to respond to this very important survey. I'd also like to commend and pay tribute to all the staff who dedicate their lives to this excellent work. Collectively, you have contributed significantly to our shared aim of making Scotland the best place to live and grow up in.
Minister for Public Health and Sport