Posted: Thu 7th Sep 2023

Cost of living crisis is harming children’s health in Wales according to new report

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Sep 7th, 2023

Public health experts in Wales have sounded the alarm on the detrimental health impacts faced by children amidst the ongoing cost of living crisis.

A new report by Public Health Wales, published today, brings into sharp focus the profound threats posed by the crisis, especially to those children already grappling with poverty.

As per the findings, the crisis has intensified the struggles of countless Welsh families, making it difficult for them to heat their homes adequately or ensure a nutritious diet for their children.

Such conditions magnify the risks of health issues like asthma and obesity in children, besides affecting their focus and academic performance.

If unchecked, these challenges can extend into their adulthood, further embedding them in the vicious cycle of poverty.

The study shed light on another grave concern, termed ‘hygiene poverty’.

A growing number of children and families in Wales are finding it challenging to afford basic hygiene necessities like soap and laundry detergents.

This not only jeopardises their physical and mental health but can also lead to the emotional distress of shame and societal stigma.

Highlighting the urgency of the matter, the report outlines 11 critical areas needing immediate attention.

Some of the focal points include better financial aid, assistance with costs associated with food, energy, hygiene, childcare, schooling, and public transport.

There is also an emphasis on safeguarding children against shame, stigma, abuse, and ensuring mental well-being support.

Children, already the most vulnerable demographic in terms of poverty, face further setbacks due to the cost of living crisis.

Notably, 1 in 4 children in Wales, already living in poverty, bear the brunt of this situation.

The repercussions of child poverty are far-reaching, affecting entire communities and multiple generations.

Amidst these pressing concerns, the Welsh Government is actively seeking feedback on its Child Poverty Strategy.

This latest report by Public Health Wales aims to accentuate the undeniable connection between child poverty and its subsequent health repercussions, both immediate and long-term.

The study also underscores the importance of acknowledging the compounded stress of the cost of living crisis on the health and well-being of families and children.

Manon Roberts, Senior Policy Officer at Public Health Wales said:

“Poverty is a major driver of poor health and health inequalities in Wales.”

“Poverty and its impact on children’s health is not a new problem in Wales but it is one that the cost of living crisis has made worse, pushing more families into crisis.”

“Supporting children and families to give every child the best start in life is key to building a healthier and more equal future for Wales.”

“Action is needed now to protect the health and well-being of our children today and the adults that they will become.”

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