toddlers playing with toys

Value for money and return on investment

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) awarded HENRY the best possible cost score when they included us in their well-respected Guidebook, meaning our programmes have a low cost to set up and deliver compared to other interventions they reviewed during their rigorous process.

HENRY is 1 of 5 policy recommendations from the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) at Nesta to the Scottish Government to help them achieve their goal of halving child obesity by 2030. BIT estimated this could achieve between 6.8% and 20.4% of the reduction in calories required to reach the target, to the value of between £74.8 million and £244.4 million in QALYs gained.

HENRY’s family support interventionsfrom conception to age 12 – combined with the holistic nature of the proven HENRY approach mean that commissioning HENRY offers value for money and a clear return on investment.  View our Commissioner Guide


More widely, investing in family support services, such as HENRY’s, improves outcomes for babies and children including:

  • early cognitive and non-cognitive development
  • social development
  • children’s readiness for school
  • later educational outcomes
  • future health

So commissioning HENRY not only helps prevent child obesity before it is too late (see below), but also supports the development of thriving, emotionally healthy children at age 5 who are ready to learn.

Nobel prize-winning economist Professor James Heckman calculated the economic benefits of social interventions provided at different ages – he found that investment in the early years gives a far greater return to society than later interventions, estimating that every $1 spent on early years repays $7 eight years later.

HENRY Heckman curve


Other economists have compared the low costs of early years interventions to the very high costs to society of unemployment and looked-after children. HENRY often helps parents return to work or education, and has helped prevent children being taken into care.

  • Poor diet is the behavioural risk factor with the single-highest impact on the NHS budget (Scarborough, 2011)
  • The long term cost of child obesity is considerable – excess weight is estimated to cost the NHS £5bn per year. The Greater London Authority Intelligence Unit estimated an obese child in London is likely to cost around £31 a year in direct costs, rising to £611 a year if they continue to be obese in adulthood
  • Other evidence suggests that for every £1 invested in parenting skills and support, £8 is saved over 25 years (Knapp, 2011)
  • Just 1 in 20 children who are obese at age 5 will return to a healthy weight by age 11 (Public Health England) – preventing children from becoming obese by age 5 is the only realistic way of reducing the numbers of children who are obese in later life
  • The All Party Parliamentary Group for Conception to Age Two recommends that tackling problems associated with early life should be a priority for politicians and health and social care professionals, stating that ‘a failure to act early comes at great cost, not only to individuals but to society as a whole’
  • Parents who join a HENRY programme are equipped with the skills to help themselves find solutions to their problems – they are therefore less likely to need wider support, which reduces pressure and demand on other local services

HENRY practitioner training can be commissioned from £125 per participant per day. Our Healthy Families programme can be delivered locally for a total cost of £320 per family. Contact us to find out more.

HENRY page in the EIF Guidebook
EIF Guidebook

HENRY was awarded the best possible score for cost-effectiveness in the EIF Guidebook

dad feeding a baby in a high chair
Why it’s easier right from the start

Early childhood is a unique opportunity to get children off to a great start

Facilitator and parent HENRY family programme
The HENRY approach

Supporting parents to provide a healthy start in life for their children

smiling toddler
Effective family support

Our innovative and flexible range of family support services