Childhood obesity likely to increase as hard-up families are pushed towards cheap, unhealthy food

The fall-out from coronavirus threatens to widen health inequalities in society.

Families need extra help to put healthy food on the table.
Families need extra help to put healthy food on the table.

As coronavirus continues to tighten the squeeze on many household incomes, childhood obesity is predicted to rise.

Charities including anti-childhood obesity campaigner, Bite Back 2030, warn that cash-strapped families will be pushed towards buying cheap, unhealthy food for children.

Last week the Department for Health and Pensions revealed there had been almost 950,000 new claims for universal credit in just over two weeks, representing an increase of  around 100,000 claims usually made in a fortnight.

Vulnerable families from a lower socio-economic background who already have higher obesity rates are likely to find purchasing healthy food challenging.

On the plus side a lot of fast-food takeaways have closed.

Extending free school meals for the Easter Holiday
The Government has bowed to pressure and agreed to pay for a national voucher scheme over the Easter holidays to feed the 1.3 million children who are given free school meals. However, this will be a one-off.

When schools closed, the Government set up a £15 weekly voucher scheme to support children but had intended to suspend it during the school break.

Following pressure from charities and schools, the government said it recognised more must be done over the Easter Holiday to help poor children at risk of going hungry.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said: ‘For children eligible for free school meals, vouchers will be available through the holidays to support household income.’

At Bite Back 2030, chief executive James Toop, said: ‘We applaud this decision, which will mean that the families that need it most will get a little extra help to put good food on the table.’

Read the free school meals guidance here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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