We currently face an urgent societal challenge: Thousands of children have an unfavourable position from the very first phase of life and are unable to reach their full developmental potential, which has major consequences for health, wellbeing and social participation. These disparities become enlarged in times of crisis, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Our mission is to optimize developmental opportunities for all children and adolescents, irrespective of their backgrounds and starting points. Together with our societal partners we create inclusive opportunities for a diversity of youth to become participating and contributing citizens.
Early life development is determined by various exposures, from geographical and social to lifestyle and stress related factors. An interdisciplinary approach and convergence of medical, social and technological sciences is therefore essential. The Rotterdam-Delft region is an ideal living lab for Healthy Start because of the diverse and participating young populations, research minded city councils and a strong research community. We therefore believe that this collaboration between Erasmus MC, Erasmus University Rotterdam and TU Delft and a broad variety of societal partners will improve the future of new generations.