Financial Strain and Fading Health: Unraveling the Impact of Living Costs on British Children’s Health


London  (Parliament Politic Magazine) – A recent survey conducted among school nurses has revealed that children all across Britain are experiencing increasingly severe health problems, including tooth decay, anxiety, and stunted growth. These issues have been exacerbated by the soaring cost of food, reaching its highest level in 45 years.

The findings of this research highlight the alarming scale and severity of health concerns faced by students over the past year. Nurses have reported instances of children hoarding school meals to bring home to their parents, while an alarming number of students have been rushed to the emergency room after fainting due to hunger.

In a particularly distressing incident, a student who had been excluded from school was reported to the police by the institution for attempting to climb over a barbed-wire fence to retrieve discarded food from waste bins.

These distressing accounts shed light on the dire consequences of rising food prices on the well-being of children in Britain. Urgent action is needed to address this issue and ensure that every child has access to nutritious meals.

How the Rising Cost of Living is Affecting Children’s Health in the UK?

A recent survey conducted by Saphna and the British Dental Association (BDA) sheds light on the worsening health issues faced by children. The study involved 313 school nurses and dentists, two-thirds of whom reported a deterioration in children’s health over the past year.

Disturbingly, almost half of the respondents stated that they regularly encounter children suffering from a lack of healthy food. The most prevalent health problems observed by these professionals were decaying and damaged teeth, affecting nearly four out of five children. Additionally, mental health issues, stunted growth, and behavioral changes such as anxiety and increased irritability were also commonly reported.

The survey was conducted as part of the No Child Left Behind campaign, which advocates for free school meals for all primary school students in England. Scotland and Wales have already taken steps to implement universal free school meals for primary school pupils, and London will follow suit starting in September.

This study highlights the urgent need for the government to commit to providing free school meals for every primary school student in England. By doing so, we can ensure that no child is left behind in terms of their nutritional needs and overall health.

School Nurses Struggling To Battle The Health Consequences of Rising Living Costs for UK Children

White, whose organization collaborates with 5,000 school nurses throughout the UK, emphasized that the issue at hand is not solely about money, but rather about political choices.

 According to White, ministers should expand the eligibility criteria for universal credit and free school meals to ensure that those who truly need assistance receive it.

White met a hospital nurse who faced financial difficulties providing warm meals for her three children. In a desperate attempt to make ends meet, the nurse resorted to taking sanitary products from her workplace to provide for her daughter.

Despite their dire circumstances and being on the brink of poverty, the nurse and her partner, an electrician, do not qualify for universal credit. By enhancing the eligibility requirements for universal credit and free school meals, we can ensure that individuals like the nurse and her family receive the support they desperately need.

Read More: Is The NHS Failing To Keep Up With Healthcare Advancements?

Experts Promote Free Nutritious School Meals For Children At School

Expanding free school meals in England would require a budget of over £1 billion annually. However, experts have highlighted the numerous advantages of providing children with nutritious meals, including improved academic performance and better overall health.

A survey conducted among hundreds of school nurses and dentists revealed that more than three-quarters of them believed that a daily nutritious meal would significantly enhance the health of primary school students. An overwhelming 94% of respondents expressed their support for the proposal.Insufficient nutrition contributes to a higher incidence of tooth decay, resulting in pain and infection that further diminishes children’s appetite and willingness to eat.

By investing in free school meals, not only can we address the immediate issue of hunger among children, but we can also tackle the long-term consequences of poor nutrition. This initiative has the potential to enhance academic outcomes and promote healthier lifestyles for young students.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.