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Health secretary to launch child health drive

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Health Secretary Andy Burnham will unveil a new government campaign to improve child health in a speech to midwives on Friday.

The Start4life campaign will provide tips on how new mothers and fathers can give their child a healthy start from birth.

It includes telling new parents not to “rush to mush” and give their youngsters solids too early.

Parents will also be advised to encourage their babies to “toddle” as soon as they can and to avoid sugary snacks in a drive to cut obesity.

A “banana challenge” will help mothers decide when it is appropriate for their child to move on to solids, typically not before the baby is six months old.

Mr Burnham will unveil the plan to health workers at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) conference in Manchester but the official launch to parents will not be until January.

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