Child hunger in London

As many as nine per cent of children in London, or the equivalent of 74,000 children, may be suffering from inadequate food intake. That's one of the key findings of research conducted by Ipsos MORI for the Greater London Authority. The study involved interviews with over 500 parents and 500 children, at all income levels and across London, designed to understand the impact that hunger has on their lives.

Key findings

  • Nine per cent of children (the equivalent of 74,000 children across London) say they sometimes or often go to bed hungry. An even higher proportion of parents – 15 per cent – report that their children always or often tell them they are hungry.
  • More than two in five parents (42 per cent) have cut back on the amount of food they buy in the past year. One in five parents (21 per cent) have skipped meals so that their children can eat, while 8 per cent say their children have had to skip meals because there was not enough food to eat.
  • Families can be 'shocked' into food poverty by events such as a parent losing their job, a family break-up or unexpected guests. Over time, issues such as rising food prices and a lack of healthy or affordable food options nearby can 'squeeze' families into acute hunger. Unemployment and underemployment are also key concerns, particularly in lone-parent households that may not be financially resilient to changing circumstances.
  • For 10 per cent of children, school lunch is their biggest meal of the day. This suggests that around 82,000 children in London may not be getting the food they need at home.
  • Food prices are unanimously agreed to be too high. 37 per cent of parents supported a proposal to use free food vouchers to buy healthy food: but others expressed concern over the stigma of this and other measures such as food banks.

Source: Suzanne Hall, Sarah Knibbs, Kathryn Medien and Georgie Davies, Child Hunger in London: Understanding Food Poverty in the Capital, Greater London Authority
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