General Article Free school meals: the lifelong impact of childhood food poverty

Topic Selected: Fitness Book Volume: 384

 

Marcus Rashford. EPA-EFE/Mike Hewitt/NMC/Pool

Regina Keith, University of Westminster

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on household food security in the UK. Five million families have encountered food insecurity, and 200,000 children are missing meals every day.

Despite a campaign led by Manchester United and England footballer Marcus Rashford, the UK government has voted against extending free school meals to children during the autumn half-term holiday and future holidays until Easter 2021. Rashford is now leading a concerted effort from councils, charities and businesses to provide free meals over the school holiday.

Holiday hunger” – when children go without the food normally provided to families during school term time – is an increasingly recognised issue. If children are not given the nutrition they need, there are long-term effects on their health.

Mind and body

In the short term, children who are living in food-insecure families are more likely to...

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