Increase In Underweight Pupils

Worrying-Increase-In-Underweight-PupilsQuestion: How many children started school underweight last year?

Answer: 6,367 children started reception class underweight – up 16% on 2012 figures

According to a recent report, there is a rising number of children who do not get enough to eat. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger have said “For a minority of children, the school lunchtime represents the only chance each day to eat something substantial”.

The government have pledged an “all-out war” on food poverty.

This report urges the government to use some of the money from the new sugar tax in order to extend free school meals for the poorer children in the school holidays.

It also suggests that the government should make greater efforts to ensure poor families take up their entitlement to vouchers for free fruit, vegetables and milk.

MPs say “In an age of rampant child obesity there has been a shock increase in the number of children starting their first and final years of school who are underweight”.

As well as the 6,367 children starting reception class underweight, there are even more starting their final year of primary school underweight. 7,663 children started their final year of primary school underweight – Up 15% since 2012.

The House of Commons Library analysis of the most recent data has suggested that a shocking 500,000 under-fives were anaemic in 2011. This is the highest level in 20 years.

The same report sets out evidence from a small scale study in Birkenhead showing that more than a fifth of the pupils in some schools arrive hungry, and complain of “persistent hunger”.

Although there is not that much data to build a full picture, the report has enough evidence to suggest that “too many children have hunger as their most constant companion”.

The question is… Is the issue mostly due to insufficient income for parents to feed their children properly, or is it down to poor parenting and is “part of a bigger picture of neglect”?

I think it is certainly a mix of the two issues. One is the breakdown of parenting and the second is the increase of people on a low income.

What are your thoughts? Before you answer, we have some further reading for you…

The EQ Knowledge Bank is a resource that tries to answer the questions frequently asked by parents. So, if there’s anything you’ve ever wondered about education or parenting in general, you may find the answers are just one click away!

Knowledge is power, so they say. If so then it’s our aim to empower parents with all the facts they need to raise happy and safe children who do well at school.

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