Poverty is preventing some children from achieving 'their developmental potential', according to a new three paper series from the Lancet. It found that while most families are able to provide nurturing care for their children, many cannot because of poverty and a lack of supportive policies. It also found a strong link between children failing to reach their 'developmental potential' and reduced earning capacity in later life.
Dr Wanda Wyporska, Executive Director of The Equality Trust, said:
"It's no surprise that the richer you are, the better your health is likely to be. But the chasm of health inequality between rich and poor has widened in recent years. Being born into a poor family shouldn't mean decades of poorer health and even premature death, but that's the shameful reality of the UK's health gap. If you rank neighbourhoods in the UK from the richest to the poorest, you have almost perfectly ranked health from the best to the worst.
"Quite simply, we need to deal with the underlying issue of economic inequality, since relative poverty, unemployment, underemployment, insecure and volatile incomes all have a negative impact on people’s health and the health of their children. Investing in support for low income families, like Sure Start centres, is a good start, but we also need urgent action to tackle economic inequality.
"This is not just a health issue, how we treat the most vulnerable in our society is an important indicator of how we see ourselves as a country. If we want to improve health outcomes for children in low income families, we need to deal with the underlying issue of economic inequality."
Notes to editors
The Equality Trust is a registered charity that campaigns to improve quality of life in the UK by reducing economic inequality.