Their YES! topic
Brain food: How can a government best ensure that all children have enough to eat?
By Nuhar Bazeer + Nihar Shembavnekar – The Health Foundation, Alice Lassman + Naba Salman – McKinsey & Company
The Health Foundation led a two-year programme listening to young people, and to those who support young people, and examining the data. The findings make worrying reading for anyone concerned with the way our society, and our public services, will look in 30 years’ time.
The health of a country’s young people is one of the greatest assets it holds, determining its future wellbeing, costs and productivity. Young people’s wellbeing is critical to a healthy democracy, the economy, and shapes the nation’s social fabric. For governments across the world, the stewardship of young people’s wellbeing needs to be a priority – any erosion of the population’s health is a major risk to the prosperity of the nation.
92% per cent of parents support extension of free school meal eligibility to all children living in very low-income families, according to new research from Children’s Food Campaign and Food Active. Parents also agree that eligibility should be based on income, regardless of immigration status (89%).
The survey conducted with over 750 parents across the UK gained insights on how the Covid-19 lockdown has impacted their children’s food intake.
- One in three (31%) reported it was harder to maintain healthy eating habits whilst children were at home
- 7 in 10 parents reported that their children ate more snacks in lockdown
- Children ate more crisps (35%), ice creams and lollies (46%), cakes and biscuits (40%), sweets and chocolate (30%).
When parents were asked their views on the Government’s commitment to fund free school meals and healthy food policies:
- 9 in 10 parents (90%) agreed that the Government should review eligibility to make free school meals available to ALL children in poverty. Parents also agreed that eligibility should be based on income, regardless of immigration status (89%).
- More than 8 in 10 parents (83%) would also like to see holiday food provision available for all children eligible for Free School Meals.
Is it the government’s role to provide food for children and young people? How can they best ensure that all have enough food to eat and contribute to a thriving economy?