We focus on four complex health issues more prevalent in urban areas
With the Social Progress Imperative, we've developed the first neighbourhood level, health-focused social progress index of its kind.
With Wellcome Trust
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Giving children a food system that works for them
In the wreckage of a global pandemic, we need to look at what can be done to make the food system work harder to prioritise health and we need to start with children, ensuring they all have equal opportunities to be healthy, no matter where they live, what their backgrounds or their level of financial security.
COVID-19 has caused extraordinary upheaval to both the food system and everyday life. Whether individuals have coped or struggled during lockdown, the experience has undoubtedly prompted a period of reflection – especially from young people. They are now better able to recognise how the food system is failing them. In particular, it has brought into sharp focus the way children’s health – mental, physical and nutritional – has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
It has also highlighted the inequalities that blight the food system, including the struggle that children, particularly those living in lower income areas face. These inequalities have long existed as children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds have consistently come up against greater barriers in accessing healthy food. However, the impact of COVID-19 has exacerbated this gap.
The research shows those from lower income households are far more likely to eat less healthily due to a lack of routine, lack access to healthier food and drink options and are also less likely to have more home cooked meals while living in lockdown when compared to those from more financially stable backgrounds.
The pause COVID-19 has created has allowed us to see, more clearly than ever before, the extent to which the food system needs a reset. It has driven a renewed interest in food, as demonstrated by the successful campaign Marcus Rashford supported for the provision of free school meals.
Crucially, young people have been woken up to these challenges and are now actively seeking out change. They want to see a better food system that works for all children, especially those from lower income backgrounds. This has created a moment in time that needs to be acted upon. Young people are Hungry for Change.
Hungry for Change outlines the opportunities and learnings from lockdown that can be seized on to effect positive change including:
Testing a new app concept to give young people affordable access to healthier food on the go.
How we're working to bring the rates of childhood obesity down in neighbourhoods with the lowest incomes to the level of those in more affluent areas.
For food programmes to have a meaningful impact on health inequities, they need a persistent eye on two things: access and quality.
Opportunities and barriers in the school food system to prioritise nutritious food for our young people