In an exclusive feature published by inews.co.uk, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has urged the Government to bring support packages in line with the rising prices of energy, food, and housing to tackle the concerns around children’s health.
The cost-of-living crisis threatens to stunt children’s development and increase their risk of respiratory illness, paediatricians have warned as they call on the Government to provide families with more financial support. RCPCH has urged the Government to bring support packages in line with the rising prices of energy, food, and housing.
Commenting on the cost-of-living crisis, Helen Forrest, Chief Executive, Children’s Health Scotland said: “We fully support the RCPCH who has called on the Government to address the threats posed by the cost-of-living crisis and urgently bring social security packages in line with current energy costs and inflation. Families shouldn’t need to choose between eating or heating, and it is putting the health and wellbeing of children and young people at risk.”
RCPCH has stated that there are growing numbers of children now at risk of malnutrition, obesity, and respiratory illnesses this winter as parents’ food and heating choices become increasingly limited while they struggle to keep up with price hikes.
Referring to households finding it difficult to manage, Dr Mike McKean, a consultant in respiratory paediatrics and RCPCH vice-president for policy said: “It’s inevitable families will go and try and buy cheap food. Unfortunately, there’s a very clear link now with poor nutrition, leading to potentially areas of malnutrition, but also poor nutrition leading to obesity.”
For families who choose eating over heating – cold, damp homes could be a breeding ground for illness.
“For children, it means that you’re going to have probably more respiratory tract infections that are more difficult to cope with and deal with and that will put more pressure on the NHS,” continued Dr McKean “You’re going to have increasing numbers of asthma and there’s a very clear link with poor living environments and asthma.”
“If you get a one-off bout of a tummy bug, then generally as long as it’s managed well then you can recover from it and recover well. But can you imagine if you’re getting it recurrently in your early life, then yes, it’s going to affect your nutrition, your growth, and your development.”
Poor quality diets can also mean children who are of a normal weight can be deficient in certain essential vitamins, leaving them vulnerable to illness and disease.
Dr McKean continued: “We’re very worried about infectious diseases going up … and that’s possibly compounded by the effect of the pandemic. We know that vaccine rates for certain things such as measles vaccines went down and we desperately need that to come back up again,”
The RCPCH has called on the Government to address these threats by urgently bringing social security packages in line with current energy costs and inflation. It has said that plans need to be in place now, not in late September.
Article pubished in inews.co.uk https://inews.co.uk/news/cost-of-living-crisis-risk-respiratory-illness-winter-1797920