Fuel poverty has a huge effect on children. Research from around the world continues to show that those children in cold and damp houses are at increased risk of poorer health outcomes and reduced performance at school linked to their fuel poverty. This has a lifelong effect and creates a vicious cycle of poverty, poor health and poor education which the families will find it hard to break away from until intervention is put in place to improve the underlying causes.
Cold homes due to fuel poverty have been proven to cause weight gain in young children. Research from “The Health Impacts of Cold Homes and Fuel Poverty” by the Marmot Review team highlights that infants are at increased risk of weight gain. This health issue can carry on with the child throughout their childhood and into adolescence where weight gain has been shown to increase risk of many conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Increased risk of asthma and respiratory diseases
There is a proven link that those children in colder homes are more at risk of asthma. This is due to mould, dust mites and damp. Children from families in fuel poverty therefore have an increased risk of a lifelong debilitating condition. Respiratory conditions such as COPD and asthma cost the NHS millions each year. These avoidable additional cases caused by fuel poverty will have a lifelong negative effect on these children.
Increased hospital admissions
Data from the Marmot Review team has shown that those children in homes with no or poor heating are more likely to be admitted to hospital. Increased risk of hospital admissions in young children cause for serious concern and needs to be addressed to ensure the health of the young population.
Poor grades at school
The vicious cycle of fuel poverty can affect a child’s health by increasing their risk of respiratory disease which will in turn make daily life more difficult. Days off school will increase for these children and participation in some activities such as sports may become affected. These factors will reduce this child’s performance overall in their school years. It may cause them to become isolated from other students due to lack of participation or fear from other students of the unknown of their health condition. Stigma can be attached to children from fuel poverty homes and isolation can take place which can detrimental during their developmental years. These reduced outcomes in education have been shown in numerous epidemiology reports to reduce their chance of employment and future success.
Quote by Marmot Review Team from their publication for the government titled “The Health Impacts of Cold Homes and Fuel Poverty” Children living in cold homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from a variety of respiratory problems than children living in warm homes.
References and resources:
Support Beat The Cold
If you want to offer funding, equipment or volunteer for us then find out how you can help
Make a Donation
If you would like to support the work we do, please consider making a donation. As little as £1 a month will make all the difference.
Need Energy Advice?
Contacting Beat the Cold is easy. If you have a query of any kind then let us know and we will be in touch. Please be aware that home visits are subject to us holding funding for your area.