Opinion: Shocking childhood poverty statistics

Much, much more will be needed to reach those families in most need of help, says Neil
Much, much more will be needed to reach those families in most need of help, says Neil

There are some truly shocking statistics in the health profiles for our four districts.

They have been released this week and can be read here.

We all know that smoking and alcohol abuse lead to an early grave, but it is unacceptable that life expectancy varies by as much as 10 years depending on where you live in the county.

It is equally unacceptable that one in five children is clinically obese by the time they reach Year 6.

Adults are no better. One in five of us is obese and we are getting fatter.

But by far the most concerning figure is the sheer number of children, and thus adults, who are living in poverty.

Children in poverty, for the purposes of these reports, are defined as those under 16 who live in families on benefits or on low incomes.

While that may not be everyone’s view of what it means to live in poverty, it means that thousands of children in north Northamptonshire are fighting against their circumstances.

There is, of course, a direct link between poverty and obesity.

Tackle the first, and you will be on the right track towards tackling the second.

The county council took over control of such matters last year and has already begun initiatives such as its 20 million steps project.

But much, much more will be needed to reach those families in most need of help.

Neil Pickford, Editor

@NeilPickfordNT