Child poverty is one of the ‘greatest dangers’ to health, says study

Poverty is one of the “greatest dangers” to the health of children in the UK, according to a report released today by campaign coalition End Child Poverty.

The study, by Professor Nick Spencer of University of Warwick, linked child poverty to a range of illnesses in both childhood and adulthood. It was found that babies born to the UK’s poorest families are 10 times more likely to suffer from sudden death syndrome than those in well-off families.

Children from poorer families were also found to be three times more likely to suffer from mental health illnesses, two-and-a-half times more likely to have a chronic illness and two times more likely to have cerebral palsy.

Low birth weight, which is associated with increased health problems, was identified as the main factor behind the figures. Spencer discovered that newborns in the 20% most deprived areas weighed on average 200g less than in the 20% most wealthy areas.

Profound implications

End Child Poverty said the evidence had “profound implications” for public policy and repeated its call for the government to invest an additional £3bn per year to meet its target to halve child poverty by 2010.

The report comes ahead of a mass rally organised by the charity on 4 October, designed to increase pressure on the government to meet its target. The Keep the Promise event will be held at Trafalgar Square, central London. 

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