SHOCK REPORT: How poverty and deprivation are blighting the lives of some Wirral children (From Wirral Globe)
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SHOCK REPORT: How poverty and deprivation are blighting the lives of some Wirral children
A REPORT to tonight’s council cabinet paints a bleak picture of children's health in parts of Wirral.
While youngsters in some areas of the borough enjoy healthy lifestyles, others are blighted by poverty and deprivation.
The review, by director of public health Fiona Johnstone, reveals more than 17,000 young people are living in poverty.
The peninsula’s rate of child poverty is significantly higher than the national average of 20.6% and stands at 24.4% - or 17,155 children.
There is huge variation across the borough with rates ranging from one-in-two children living in poverty in Bidston to just one-in-twenty in Heswall.
Poverty is leading to obesity - the number of children who are obese and overweight in Reception and Year 6 is higher than the North West and England average.
Ms Johnstone writes: “"While overall Wirral is a positive place for children and young people to grow up, some do not fulfil their potential.
"There are great disparities in Wirral, not least in wealth.
“Some areas, mostly in the west of the peninsula are very affluent; while on the east there are high levels of poverty and deprivation which has an impact upon children’s lives and development.
“The challenge is to eliminate disparities in outcomes and ensure that all young people have the best possible start in life. “
Alcohol is also becoming a significant problem for children and young people in the borough.
This has led to a wide-range of problems including injuries and accidents, risk-taking behaviour, cognitive problems and long-term risks to health.
Responsibility for dealing with some of these issues will transfer from the NHS to local authorities in 2015.
Cabinet members will be asked to approve a scheme to commission a joint enterprise between the council and NHS England for a new strategy uniting health, children’s services and schools “to ensure children get the best start in life.”
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