West News Wire: According to data from the Non-Communicable Diseases Risk Factor Collaboration published by The Times on Tuesday, British five-year-olds who grew up in the age of austerity are up to 7 cm (2.76 in) shorter than their contemporaries in other industrialized countries.  

British boys and girls now number 102 for boys and 96 for girls, down significantly from their rating of 69 in 1985, when there were 200 countries listed. This places them behind nations as diverse as Kyrgyzstan, Cuba, and Canada. 

By comparing the figures to information on 19-year-olds, Professor Tim Cole of the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health at University College London argued to The Times that growing up during the “period of austerity” of the 2010s was what “clobbered the height of children in the UK.” The results show that British five-year-olds’ height peaked in 2011 at 112.8cm (44.4in) and has been declining ever since. 

Cole asserted that height is a particularly “sensitive” measure of living conditions since it is influenced by stress, poverty, disease, and even the quality of sleep in addition to food quality and quantity. In comparison to Europe, “it’s quite clear we are falling behind,” he remarked. 

Former UK government food adviser Henry Dimbleby stated to The Times that “children in the poorest areas of England are both fatter and significantly shorter than those in the richest areas at age ten to eleven.” He added that “the way we eat is one of the clearest markers of inequality in modern Britain.”  

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Family doctors in low-income communities have noted a “extraordinary” rise in the illnesses caused by nutritional deficiencies that were common in Victorian times, according to Dimbleby. According to NHS data, 700 children are hospitalised to English hospitals each year with rickets, scurvy, or other types of malnutrition, while obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dental decay are all more common in children from lower-income families. 

The Netherlands and Lithuania are not the only European nations to perform better than Britain. The study found that North Korea and China both produce five-year-olds who are taller than those in the UK. Libyan children as young as five are taller (boys) or as tall (girls) than British children of the same age, despite having been born and nurtured after the NATO bombing campaign that assisted in overthrowing their government and turning the nation into a failed state. 

In the UK, austerity has been connected to a wide range of socioeconomic issues, including rising inequality and diminishing educational achievement. While proponents contend that the programme put in place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis was required to save a sinking economy, detractors claim that the harm done surpasses any advantages.       

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