Britin ‘lagging behind developed world’ on child poverty’, Unicef report reveals.
The UK ranked 25th out of 37 wealthy countries covered by the report – behind Poland, Romania, and Slovenia – for its equality levels in children’s reading, maths and science skills at age 15. Britain also saw the biggest difference between rich and poor children for consumption of healthy food such as fruit and vegetables, and it also had one of the largest gaps in levels of physical activity between children from high and low income backgrounds.
Lily Caprani, Unicef’s deputy executive director for the UK, said, “Inequality between children is damaging their lives and aspirations,” she said. “Taking children’s rights seriously means acting with urgency to make sure no child is left behind.”
Alison Garnham, chief executive of the Child Poverty Action Group, said that for growing numbers of children, “childhoods are going to be shaped and limited by poverty-producing policies.”
Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said that the report presented “a worrying picture of child health and wellbeing in the UK. Poverty and inequality impact on the way in which children develop, their future health, happiness, and economic prosperity,” she said. “It is particularly concerning that the UK has the largest difference in levels of healthy eating between children from low and high socio-economic status. Combined with one of the largest gaps in the levels of physical activity, more of our children are at risk of becoming overweight and obese which will have a significant impact on their future health and the health of the nation,” she added.