Maintaining pre-school children's health and wellbeing in the UK: a qualitative study of the views of migrant parents

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BackgroundThere is evidence that key health behaviours of people who migrate deteriorate over time, which has a consequent impact upon the health of dependent children. As health in the early years sets the course for lifelong health, it is important to explore parents' views on maintaining children's health following migration.MethodsFive focus groups were held with parents of preschool children who had migrated to the UK within the last 10 years (n = 28). Parents originated from Romania, Poland, Somalia and Pakistan, with one group of Roma Gypsy parents. Data collection took place in January to March 2015.ResultsAll groups, apart from the Roma, perceived barriers to maintaining optimal health and well-being for their preschool children following migration to the UK. Eastern European parents experienced difficulties in ensuring family financial security, while parents from more established communities focused on barriers to children's exercise, play and nutrition.ConclusionsThis study highlights aspects of public health where migrants and their children can experience adverse effects in the UK. These findings have implications for policymakers, commissioners and providers of health services who aim to promote good health among preschool children.

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