Affordable access to sufficient nutritious food is vital for both a child’s health and wellbeing. Food poverty is defined as ‘the inability to afford, or have access to, the food needed for a healthy diet.’ The rate of childhood obesity and children being overweight is on the rise. This is particularly alarming as a poor diet is linked to malnutrition, poor psychical and cognitive development, as well as behavioural issues and impacts on a child’s ability to concentrate and learn.
Did you know?
- One quarter of 11 year olds in Lambeth are obese.
- Tooth decay resulting from high-sugar diets and poor oral health is the number one cause of hospital admission for children aged between 5 and 9.
- London has the highest childhood obesity rates in the whole of the UK
- Child obesity rates are highest in deprived areas.
At St Michael's we are helping to break the link between poverty and poor diets. Some of our weekly groups are centred around the importance of healthy eating. At Cook Up, which takes place every Thursday, our young parents are taught how to cook delicious meals on a budget, which will provide their child with the nutrition they need in order to have the best start in life. At our young parents group, which runs every Friday, we cook delicious, fresh meals for our young parents and their children to eat, proving plenty of fruit and vegetables. One of the young mothers commented that ‘I learnt how to cook dishes from all over the world.’
We have also introduced the 5-a-day programme in our residential services and to the outreach team. Its emphasis is on 5 cornerstones for children to flourish, one being on the provision of a healthy diet.
St Michaels supports 4in10, who aims to tackle child poverty in London and the issues surrounding it.