Homeless need a good diet too

6th August 2004 at 01:00
The news that ministers are drawing up a healthy living blueprint (TES, July 16) to advise on steps schools can take to encourage pupils to make healthy eating choices is welcome.

We would, however, also urge the Government to target vulnerable groups, and to pay particular attention to those who have been socially excluded from mainstream education.

It is true that most young people receive health education at school and at home, but many of the homeless young people we work with have missed out on opportunities to develop cooking skills and learn about the importance of healthy eating.

Our recent research into food poverty showed that most residents at Centrepoint could not afford fresh fruit and vegetables at all, let alone eat five portions of them every day.

Some complained of headaches and ill-heath due to poor diet; others were unable to concentrate at college as they could not afford the canteen food, let alone make sound food choices.

We believe it is crucial to provide an integrated survey that targets all vulnerable groups in a variety of settings - not just in the classroom.

Anthony Lawton Chief executive Centrepoint 7 Whitechapel Road London W1

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