Tuesday 19 September 2017 16.45 BST
Tens of thousands of the poorest children in London are facing a cocktail of health risks including air pollution, obesity and poverty that will leave them with lifelong health problems, according to a new report.
The study found that schools in the capital worst affected by the UK’s air pollution crisis were also disproportionately poor, with high levels of obesity.
Saul Billingsley, from the FIA Foundation, an international environmental and road safety charity which carried out the study, said: “Children from some of London’s most socially deprived areas are not only affected by unacceptable levels of air pollution around their schools, they also face compounding health risks.”
The report found:
- 85% of the schools most affected by air pollution have pupils that come from deprived neighbourhoods
- Almost nine in 10 of the secondary schools most affected had levels of obesity higher than the London average
- 86% of worst affected primary schools were in catchment areas with lower than average car ownership
Jonathan Grigg, professor of paediatric respiratory and environmental medicine at Queen Mary University of London, said the health consequences for these children could be “very serious”.
“This is going to have major consequences not just in childhood but over the whole of the life course.”
Professor Grigg, a founding member of the Doctors Against Diesel campaign group, said children from disadvantaged backgrounds often did have access to green spaces but when they did go outside, they were more likely to be breathing dangerously polluted air.
“This is a dangerous combination of factors … childhood is a critical time in terms of health. Children should have the right to breathe air that does not cause them harm.”