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The current and future health of children in Wales is being harmed by the cost of living crisis

07 Sep 2023 3 minute read
The report has found that the health of children is being harmed as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Public health experts are calling for urgent action to tackle the impact of the cost of living crisis on the health and well-being of children in Wales.

A new report published today by Public Health Wales finds that the health of children, especially those already living in poverty, is being harmed by the cost of living crisis.

These health harms will have negative knock-on effects on children’s future health and life chances.

The report finds that the cost of living crisis is making more families and children in Wales unable to afford to keep their homes warm or eat enough healthy food.

This increases the risk of children developing health conditions such as asthma or obesity, or of not being able to concentrate at school.

This not only harms the health and well-being of children now but their future life chances too, which has the potential to trap them in poverty.

Hygiene poverty – not being able to afford products needed for basic care and cleanliness, such as soap and laundry detergent – was also highlighted as a key issue.

Poor hygiene can have negative impacts on children’s physical and mental health and well-being, and can contribute to the shame and stigma children may experience as a result of experiencing poverty.

The report calls for a cross-policy response to child poverty and the cost of living crisis, identifying 11 priority areas for action.

These include improved financial support, help with the costs of food, energy, hygiene, childcare, public transport and attending school, and a focus on preventing abuse, stigma, shame and supporting mental well-being.

Children are already at the highest risk of being in poverty of any age group, and the 1 in 4 children in Wales already living in poverty are being hit hardest by the cost of living crisis.

The impact of child poverty can be life-long and felt across communities and society and between generations.

The first 1000 days of a child’s life, from conception to their second birthday, are the most important for shaping children’s health and well-being into adulthood.


The Welsh Government is currently consulting on its Child Poverty Strategy and this report from Public Health Wales looks to draw attention to the link between child poverty and poor health outcomes for children, both now and in the future.

It also highlights the need for leaders and policymakers to take account of the additional pressure the cost of living crisis is putting on the health and well-being of children and families.

Manon Roberts, Senior Policy Officer at Public Health Wales said: “Poverty is a major driver of poor health and health inequalities in Wales. Poverty and its impact on children’s health is not a new problem in Wales but it is one that the cost of living crisis has made worse, pushing more families into crisis.

“Supporting children and families to give every child the best start in life is key to building a healthier and more equal future for Wales.

“Action is needed now to protect the health and well-being of our children today and the adults that they will become.”

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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
10 months ago

Who do you think comes up with these natty slogans like ‘Cost of living crisis’? It is those deflectors of attention in the ‘help yourself’ echelons sucking every last penny out of us who are responsible so let us start calling it what it is – THE COST OF TAKING CRISIS. Without this, there would be no cost of living crisis.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

Mary Beard (Romans) should do an extra program: Children in Cymru…

Bharat for India ! Rhys Owens’ thesis might be out there by now; ‘The Welsh and Empire, Early Reflections on India’ @swanseahistory ) Such a timely addition to the subject…

Pity the children…those who invented ‘Vaps’ obviously don’t. This is the tip of the ice iceberg when it comes to giving kids as little possible. While no longer cannon fodder, they are nonetheless the target of a media and manufacturing society without a single moral…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
10 months ago

as opposed to any other kind of iceberg…

10 months ago

Voting green is asking for a low standard of living. Now we are getting it good and hard.

10 months ago

Diverting public funds that are already scarce into new “needs” may appear noble but in reality it avoids confronting the root causes. This cost of living crisis is a creation of national governments and big business – an axis of evil that invades every home in the land, although the pain increases inversely with disposable income levels. Energy and fuel prices have been the main drivers with other manufacturers jumping on the bandwagon and jacking up their prices often disproportionately. So every household that has children is getting squeezed- more mouths to feed, more to clothe and that just accounts… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
10 months ago

UK Politicians should hang their heads in shame for facilitating the destruction of our infrastructure and the creation of the so called ‘cost of living crisis’. They have sold off many vital services, kept wages low and then set about charging us through the nose for the services and facilities we have already paid for in tax and NI while keeping wages so low many can’t even afford to eat. Corruption and profiteering at our expense is endemic and politicians do nothing. (Many even participate in the great rip off). Approx £38billion a year is lost to tax dodging and… Read more »

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