Health experts of the UK have issued a warning. They say that the present day kids of UK are on poor diets. This would increase their risk of having fatal diseases such as severe infections and cancer in the future. They advise that kids at school should have a nutritious diet. This warning comes at a time when the government has halted free school meals due to budget constraints.
Poor diets and children
All school going children in the UK used to get free school meals in the past. But since last two years, the government has stopped this practice. Money constraint was the prime reason for this cessation of free meals for kids at school. But health experts and leading pediatricians and dietitians of the UK are not happy with it. They have warned that children now have poor diets and this would make them prone in the future to fatal diseases such as infections and cancer. If is of utmost importance that kids should get adequate and nutritious diet daily.
The experts told The Standard that kids in the long run would face several health issues and even premature deaths. Currently, free meals are only provided to children whose parents are poor and their income is below a certain level.
Request to the UK government
There is food insecurity in the world and the UK. Inflation is high and food prices have soared. Many families are unable to afford a square meal. Children are also affected and many have poor diets.
Food foundation has formed a coalition of organizations called Feed the Future. This association campaigns for food security and diet for the future generation.
They have urged the current Prime Minister Liz Truss to restart the free school meals for kids of all families on universal credit in England. There are around 800000 families in England and 210000 students in London who are on universal credit but are now out of realm of free school meals.
What experts say?
Dr Michael McKean, a consultant respiratory paediatrician and vice president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health states:
“There are a lot of adults who have severe cardiovascular diseases or cancer and the causes originate in childhood. The type of food you eat as a child has lasting effects.”
“These kids on poor diets are more likely to suffer an illness needing NHS treatment later in life and this would cost society more money in the long run.”
“As paediatricians we are watching this unfold. This didn’t happen 20 years ago nearly as much as it is happening now. Children’s health has got a lot worse.”
The increased cost of living has forced students to go hungry in the day. Some resort to stealing at supermarkets or canteen to satiate the hunger pangs. Others hide in shame or act to est from empty tiffin boxes. It is a sad state of affairs.
Dr Annette Creedon, from the British Nutrition Foundation explains:
“Children who experience food insecurity are at an increased risk of behavioural and emotional issues which affect their ability to engage academically.”