Thousands of children in England started school underweight last year and rising numbers of children do not get enough to eat, says the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger. "For a minority of children, the school lunchtime represents the only chance each day to eat something substantial," the group reported. "In an age of rampant child obesity there has been a shock increase in the number of children starting their first and final years of school who are underweight," say the MPs. In addition, the most recent data suggested that more than half a million under-fives were anaemic in 2011, the highest level in 20 years. A small study in Birkenhead and South Shields show more than a fifth of pupils in some schools arrive hungry, with some complaining of "persistent hunger".
There is evidence to suggest "too many children have hunger as their most constant companion". In "maybe most" of these families, parents do not have sufficient income properly to feed their children.
Food bank usage has continued to rise for another year, according to figures from the country’s biggest provider, the Trussell Trust, as new data revealed that hunger is most common in areas with high levels of disability and long-term illness. Overall 1,109,309 emergency food packages were distributed by the Trussell Trust in 2015-16. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger, published today, estimates that more than half of the emergency food aid supplied in the UK comes from independent food banks and other organisations not covered by the Trussell Trust’s figures – indicating that the true scale of hunger in the UK could be far greater. The poorest households require 41 per cent of their income to cover the costs of food, fuel and housing; an increase of ten percentage points since 2003
Primary schools in England have been accused of “social segregation” after a report from the Sutton Trust showed more than 1,500 schools were turning away disadvantaged pupils in favour of children from higher-income families.
Unicef's Fairness for Children report compared inequalities in income, education, health and life satisfaction between children from rich and poor families. The report found the UK lags behind other rich countries in reducing inequality in child well-being, coming in at joint 14th place - alongside Germany, Greece and Hungary. In inequality in education, where the UK was ranked 25th out of 37 countries in reading, maths and science. Britain also had a large gap between rich and poor children in the levels of fruit and vegetable consumption and the levels of physical activity.
The cost of removing decayed teeth in children in hospital has soared by 66% since 2010-11, according to councils demanding tougher action to tackle sugar addiction. Dental decay is the top cause of childhood hospital admission for children aged between five and nine, with nearly 26,000 admitted in 2013/14