Sunday, March 25, 2018
‘Children deserve better’: Youngsters most disadvantaged by cuts to public health services:-Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Children are the ones most disadvantaged by the Government’s cuts to public health services and issues of rising poverty, a new report has found. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)’s report into the state of child health found that the health and wellbeing of children across England remains “largely unchanged”. “Children deserve better,” the authors wrote. “It is they who are disadvantaged most by inefficient health services, cuts to public health and the rising tide of poverty.” A year on from its State of Child Health report, the RCPCH has examined how officials have attempted to tackle some of the issues facing child health and wellbeing. It found England falling behind both Wales and Scotland in terms of enacting policies to improve child health, despite the implementation of measures such as the sugar tax on soft drinks and making sex and relationship education mandatory in schools in England. Call for ‘bolder public health policies’ On the list of criticisms is the Government’s failure to implement a junk food advertising ban. Last week Cancer Research UK found children who watch junk food TV ads could be led to eat more than 500 extra snacks each year. RCPCH president Professor Neena Modi highlighted the repercussions that can come from failing to invest in children’s health, particularly in terms of obesity: “The science exists for all to see; invest in the health of children and make a huge difference to their health in later life and hence to their economic productivity. “For example, four-fifths of obese children will remain obese as adults and this will result in them losing between 10-20 years of health life.” Professor Modi called for “much bolder public health policies and a reversal of the current destructive cuts to preventative services”. Call for junk food ads watershed Caroline Cerny, of the Obesity Health Alliance, said that despite the number of children with an unhealthy weight reaching an all-time high, there is a “huge gap” in the Government’s approach to tackling childhood obesity and called for a 9pm watershed on junk food ads. A Government spokesperson said: “There is always more to do, but we have world-leading plans in place to safeguard child health by combatting obesity, improving mental health and vaccinating against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. “In the past year, both teen pregnancy and child mortality have fallen to all-time lows, and our soft drinks levy is already funding additional breakfast clubs and sports.”

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