Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Malnutrition in the UK. We have a problem.

Here is an expanded version of this paper.

A week or two ago the Radio 4 programme More or Less took a look at the stats of childhood malnutrition, because a Parliamentary Committee had said that a lot of children suffered under nutrition during school holidays on account of no access to free school meals.
More or Less concluded this was not quite the case. The whole thing was a bit vague.

I did some research when I noticed the story come out on Twitter, because Edwina Curry pooh-poohed the story in a Let-Them-Eat-Cake sort of way.

I found this report, and on page 2 para 9 it reveals that total public health expenditure in England on malnutrition  (not the whole UK, mind) was £19.6bn.

6% (i.e. £1.176 billion) of this was for children.

That is a significant number.

A quick search throws up lots of other interesting facts. Russia Today, concerned as ever for our well-being, notes that food prices in Britain  have risen by 12% in 7 years, while wages have gone down by 7.6% in the same period.

The Patients Association finds that of hospitalised children in the UK, 16% are stunted, 14% wasted, and 20% at risk of severe malnutrition.

And so on. It seems that we do indeed have a problem.

It would be good if the subject of malnutrition got a bit of an airing in this wonderful snap election. Unfortunately BBC Radio 4 is more or less unable to discuss topics that might embarrass the Tory Party.

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