Impact of Childhood Poor Diet on The Health Implications in Later Life

  • 15 Pages
  • Published On: 17-11-2023


The health and social care service plays an important role in managing the standard of living of the individuals in the society, where it is possible for the health care providers to provide high quality health and social care services and fulfil the needs and preferences of the individuals. Health and Social Care (often abbreviated to HSC or H&SC) is the term related to the health and social care services where the care professionals are efficient to meet the individual need and improve their wellbeing in long run. Community benefits and overall improvement of the social wellbeing are the major aim of the health and social care professionals where the public administrative body or private health care organisations, both profit and non-profit are efficient to deliver quality care and treatment to the service users in the society. For conducting the study, it is possible to discuss the research methods for data collection and analysis techniques so that better and authentic information can be gathered and it would be possible for the researcher to analyse the research critically. The primary research is considered as self conducted research method and on the other hand, the secondary method refers to information gathering from previously conducted studies. There are different types of research methods utilised in the health and social care studies which are described further.


Qualitative Research

It refers to gathering the information through experiences, emotions or behaviours, and the meanings individuals and it further enables the researcher to gain better insight about the research topic, concepts of the study, social interactions and cultural phenomenon. This type of study is related to interpreting the events and describing the actions for in depth analysis and critical evaluation.

Quantitative Research

It is related to numerical data findings and statistical analysis where it is possible to uncover the patters and relationship between the dependent and independent variables.

Research aim and objectives

The study focuses son analysing the issue of food poverty among the children in the UK where the families nearby 4 million children would struggle to afford healthy food items including fruits, fresh vegetables and other healthy foods to fulfil their basic needs and meet the government’s nutritional guidelines. The children living below the poverty line are facing issues to meet their daily food items and there exist diet related illness such as obesity and diabetes as they are priced out to eat healthy food items in daily lives. There are several impacts of hunger and mainly it affects the personal distress and physical health condition. Food insecurity raises the issue of anxiety and stress among the family member, where they fail to feed food on the daily basis and there is huge numbers of children, who cannot have proper diet and food habit as they cannot afford the healthy food items in the society. Apart from adverse physical health condition, this further raise the mental issues as well including aggressive behaviour in children, triggering depression, a sense of hopelessness, and overwhelming stress for parents struggling to give their children the best start. It further increases the risk of obesity leading to poor child growth. The magnitude in this research is related to the childhood food insecurity which requires systematic change rather than short term changes. The aim and objective of the study are,

To identify the reasons behind the poor diet among the children in the UK

To take an attempt to at least try by extensive research to raise awareness in the society about the consequences of poor diet among the children

To determine the factors that can contribute to reduce this problem of poor diet among the children in the UK


Food is the basic needs of the individual to stay a healthy life style and it provides nutrition to the human body to live a better life. Correlation between food and dietary plan is also strong where the individuals needs to have proper dietary plan for being healthy and lead a standard of living in long run. For prevention of the chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) cancers, and diabetes, it is mandatory to have proper dietary plan. Food preferences are hereby changing over the period of time throughout the life span which further influences the biological, social and environmental factors in long run (Birch 1999). The preferences of food are the key determinant of life to stay safely. Pioneering theory of Urie Bronfenbrenner is effective to develop ecological model of food choices and it further influences the child and youth care development. The theory states that the human behaviour such as gender, age and cultural factors as well as personal behaviour, preferences towards food items and environmental factors influence the food habit (Finnane 2017). The child ecological niche includes family and peers which are further influence by society, media, and community and food offerings. Parents try to provide healthy food items to the children to fulfil their basic needs and it further influence the eating behaviour of the child, lifestyle, dietary practice, eating related preferences and satisfaction or dissatisfaction regarding personal needs and preferences towards living a normal life (Montaño 2015). In the young age, the dietary habits are built over the period of time and this further influence the physical and mental health condition. Although, the child weight and eating behaviour are critical to be analysed and there is high requirement of proper intervention to develop healthy food habits in order to mitigate the issue of excess weight, obesity and diabetes ad unhealthy eating patterns over the life span (Cuellar, 2015). As per the evidence, in the UK, 1 out of 3 children are suffering from overweight and obesity where they leave school and fail to participate in the social activity and school program. It has been mainly in the derived areas and the UK faces challenges to confront food swamps where there is abundance of low-nutrient junk food outlets line the streets, high-calorie food items available in the street, while the tactic of restricting the promotion of unhealthy foods in the supermarkets of the UK and ensuring that healthy options are affordable and easily accessible to all would be great tactic for managing the issue of poor dietary plan of the children (Bronfenbrenner 1986).

As the children are growing older, the practice of unhealthy food intake become alarming which is driven by inappropriate marketing and advertisement of unhealthy food, promoting proceeded food items in the cities, which increases the demand for fast food and highly sweetened beverages in the market. As per the worldwide survey, 45% of children aged between six months to 2 years are not consuming healthy food items, fruits and vegetables and nearly 60% of children do not eat eggs, dairy products, fish or meat Ventura 2013). Every year, the government of the UK fail to develop intervention plan to protect childhood and enhance the health condition of the children in long run. UNICEF UK urges the governments and food industry to develop healthy food environment mainly in the deprived areas where the children would be able improve their wellbeing, being happy and safe through healthy dietary plan. There is great role of breastfeeding on child health condition, and recently there is serious issue, where the numbers of mothers trying to breastfeed to their child is decreasing over the period of time, and it further hamper child physical development and healthy food habit (Jew 2015). It is due to lack of marketing and weak policies and programs to promote and protect the practice of breastfeeding for child health. The aim of the research is to analyse the future implications of healthy dietary practice of the children and identify the necessary actions for better future to lead a quality life (Bowen 2018).

Research methodology

The research methodology is important for conducting the study efficiently in a systematic process and in involves the study with theories and concept related to the research topic in order to develop research approach. The method involves specific tools and process where data collection and analysis method are being chosen successfully to fulfil the research aim and objectives. For example, experiments, surveys, and statistical tests are effective to conduct the study critically and fulfil the research objective. There are several sources of information, from where the researcher can collect the data which are authentic and relevant to the research (Snape and Spencer, 2003:1). Moreover, the suitable data analysis method is also effective for the study to conduct critical analysis and evaluation further. The researcher tries to choose the research methodologies including the approach of the study, research philosophy, data collection and data analysis method in order to conduct the study efficiently. The qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques are the two types of analytical method, where the researcher can collect the data and analyse it with critical evaluation. There are different advantages and disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative data analysis method. The strengths of qualitative methods are that exploring test-takers’ behaviour, perceptions, feelings, as well as interpreting the collected data and information for further assessment and administrating and exploring deep insights and on the other hand, there are some disadvantages which are sample size and time consuming. For quantitative data analysis method, there needs to have large sample size and does not require longer time to collect the data (Sharp, 2009:5). The limitations of quantitative data analysis are such as lack of in-depth analysis, overlook the test takers and testers experience in the study.

The background of the research and contextual study including ontological and epistemological perspectives are helpful for the researcher to choose the right method of conducting the study in order to follow suitable step with right method of completing the study critically. ‘use of various philosophical tools to help clarify the process of inquiry and provide insight into the assumptions on which it conceptually rests’ is helpful for the researcher to justify the research process and conduct the study efficiently. Right research philosophy and credibility of the research must be chosen efficiently in order to manage the quality of the research by fulfilling the research objectives successfully.

Ontology is the philosophical study where the nature of education as well as the educational reality can be reviewed well, there are different perceptions of philosophical ontology and it is effective to be analysed further in order to identify the perception and conduct the study critically. For choosing the right methodology, the researcher would like to identify the external factors and reality or experienced to conduct reality based social studies, based on the social and human conception (Oliver, 2010:35). A qualitative study is hereby beneficial to conduct in-depth analytical research by including of social activities and human perception. On the other hand, epistemology refers to the philosophical study of knowledge grounded upon the truth and what the individual belief in the society. The researchers try to choose the epistemology research method to fulfil the aim and objectives of the study and in this regard the researcher is concerned about the knowledge and concept related to the research. For improving knowledge base and skill set of the researcher, this method is effective through which it would be possible for the researcher to conduct the study with in depth critical analysis (Kincheloe and Berry, 2004:8). The methodological approach is hereby important to conduct the study efficiently and the methods can be divided into two major parts, one is qualitative and another is quantitative. If the researchers choose mixed method, which means that both the qualitative and quantitative research methods is selected by the researcher in order to conduct the study and fulfil the research questions (Snape and Spencer, 2003:1). The mixed method study has been emerged with the qualitative and quantitative research approaches to conduct wide range of enquiry. It further involves a range of sequential and concurrent strategies where the researcher is able to conduct the research by ensuring quality control activities, following the ethical considerations and utilising the resources so that it would be possible for the researcher to fulfil the research aim and objectives.

Methodology approach is hereby necessary to be chosen in conducting the study efficiently in a systematic process. Mixed method refers to the research activities with both the qualitative and quantitative method. The mixed method provides a scope to the researcher to access a wide range of sequential and concurrent strategies. The researcher’s ontological position begins to reshape the methodological decision-making, for further research analysis and evaluation, where it is possible for the researcher to choose the right method of conducting the study through authentic data collection and analysis practice (Greener, 2011:6). Mixed method research design approach

Fig: Mixed method research design approach (Adopted from Creswell 2012)

Polit and Beck (2006) stated that, research is the way of solving the questions or problems by reviewing the existing topic and experience. Hek & Moule (2006) opined that, systematic way gathering the information as well as in depth evaluation are effective to conduct the study efficiently and fulfil the research questions. Both the qualitative and quantitative study is chosen in this particular study which indicates that the researcher selects mixed method for conducting the research critically. The mixed method is hereby beneficial to access the health and medical sciences including different fields such as nursing, family medicine, social work, mental health, pharmacy, allied health, and others. Child care is increasing concerned among the society and Positivist and constructivist ontology are irreconcilable. According to LINCOLN and GUBA (2000), positivism is effective method to access the real life examples and activities in the society where the qualitative and quantitative studies are associated with the positivism and constructivism for further in depth research (Bordo, 1986, 1989). In this particular study, the constructivist realism is proposed as an alternative ontology for critical analysis and evaluation. The natural attitude and social interactions can be possible under the study and understand the phenomenon across physical, social, and personal (self) worlds. The qualitative and quantitative researchers are able to examine the phenomenon and representing the data and information for critical analysis (Ruth 1987). The qualitative method is associated with in-depth knowledge gathering activities where the researcher is able to gather vast range of information. On the other hand, the quantitative method is also helpful to conduct empirical findings related to the research.

Literature review

Through reviewing the existing journals and research articles, it is possible to conduct the literature review which provides in depth knowledge and understanding with theories, concepts and research gap in the existing researches. Systematic literature review is one type of searching the articles and it is beneficial to collect vast range if information, theories and concept related to the research. On the other hand, evidence based practice is another way of conducting literature review where well designed, problem solving approach provide experimental and explicit perspective about the research (Huw TO 2009). The quality of evidences must be checked and evaluated for maintaining authenticity of the study and validity of the information. Children’s food preferences and eating behaviours are evaluated through this literature review in order to examine the research topic and develop background of the study efficiently. The literature review is hereby beneficial to understand the research topic and gather a vast range of information and evidences to analyse the research topic critically. For in-depth evaluation and analysis, it is necessary to develop proper literature review with relevant data and valid information.

Inclusion criteria in our search:

  1. Studies that involves children’s poor diet.
  2. Studies in which dietary intake were assessed using assessment tools
  3. Studies, where dietary intake is reported by parents, caregiver, interviewer administered
  4. Studies that measured dietary intake and nutrients intake
  5. Studies that have analysed the consequences of poor diet

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. Studies focussed on diseased or unhealthy participants
  2. Studies that assess malnutrition risk
  3. Studies that investigate dietary causes of specific disease
  4. Searching through MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, Scopus, ERIC, ScienceDirect, Web of Science, Cochrane, LILACS, and ADOLEC is effective for conducting the literature review of the study. The researcher further includes randomised controlled trials (RCT), non-RCT, and controlled before-after studies. Risk of biasness will be assessed by using Critical Appraisal Skills Program (CASP) checklist, mainly for qualitative studies. The papers are selected for critical analysis of strength and limitations, which are evaluated further:

Paper 1: Poverty and child health in the UK: using evidence for action Sophie Wickham1, Elspeth Anwar1, Ben Barr1, Catherine Law2, David Taylor-Robinson1, BMJ VOL 101 ISSUE 8 January 1997:

The critical analysis and evaluation in this paper is effective to explore that there is high relation between child poverty with worse child health outcome. In the UK, it is evidenced that, the children growing up in poverty, they will suffer from adverse child health and development. It is estimated that, eliminating child poverty would be beneficial to save the lives of 1400 children under 15 years of age annually. Furthermore, the cost of child poverty in the UK economy was £29 billion a year in 2013, up from £25 billion in 2008. The children living in poor condition, are suffering through proper physical health and worse cognitive and socio behavioural outcomes and there is also higher risk of death among the children. There are other consequences related to the situation of poverty, which are mortality from stomach cancer, lung cancer, haemorrhagic stroke, coronary heart disease and respiratory-related deaths, accidents and alcohol-related causes of death. The UK government is raising concern about poverty eradicating programs to reduce child poverty as well as intervene with proper dietary planning for protecting the child with healthy dietary plan. It is beneficial to overcome the adverse childhood socio economic circumstances and particularly poverty in order to maximise the health and social outcomes in long run.

Paper 2: Diet in the early years of life influences cognitive outcomes at 10 years: a prospective cohort study Anett Nyaradi 1, Jianghong Li, Siobhan Hickling, Andrew J O Whitehouse, Jonathan K Foster, Wendy H OddyActa Paediatr. 2013 Dec;102(12):1165-73.:

The study reveals that the better dietary planning in the early years of life has crucial impacts on the cognitive ability of the children. It aims to investigate the association between the diet in 3 years of life and the cognitive outcomes at 10 years of age among the children. Eating assessment is performed among 2868 child to understanding their eating habit and it is conducted through Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III) and the Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices at the 10-year follow-up. As per the result, it has been revealed that, increasing fruit consumption will be beneficial for enhancing quality of life and increasing sugar intake will has negative impacts on the physical health of the children. The study has a limitation which is that the researchers focus on experiencing the child cognitive skill at the age of 10, but adulthood is not taken under consideration.

Paper 3: Relationship Between Diet and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review Adrienne O’Neil Am J Public Health. 2014 October; 104(10): e31–e42.Published online 2014 October:

The study is related to the role of habitual diet in the development of depressive disorders and symptoms and in this paper, there are systematic review of 12 epidemiological studies to identify the relationship between the healthy dietary system and the mental health of the children and adolescents. As per the evidence of the study, there is cross-sectional relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns and poorer mental health in children and adolescents. There is relationship between good quality diet and good mental health among the children. Hence, there is potential connection between the dietary pattern and the quality of life and mental health of the children.

Paper 4: Childhood obesity: causes and consequences Krushnapriya Sahoo, Bishnupriya Sahoo, Ashok Kumar Choudhury, Nighat Yasin Sofi,4 Raman Kumar, and Ajeet Singh Bhadoria J Family Med Prim Care. 2015 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 187–192.:

The critical analysis of the paper is related to childhood obesity which has reached to its epidemic levels in the developed as well as developing nations. Overweight and obesity have significant effects on the child both physical and psychological health. Overweight and obese children is suffering throughout their adulthood and it further raises non-communicable dieses like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid etc. environmental factors including lifestyle preferences and cultural activities have its impacts on childhood eating habits where increasing intake of caloric and fat intake cause obesity among the children. There is supporting evidence which reveals that the numbers of children consuming soft drinks and junk food is increasing over the period of time and it is playing a serious role in childhood obesity. It affects the social and cognitive skill of the children, as well as hampers the emotional wellbeing and physical health. Self esteem and mental growth are also hampered due to obesity among the child. It leads to poor quality of life and deterioration of the academic performance of the children. Many co-morbid conditions like metabolic, cardiovascular, orthopaedics, neurological, hepatic, pulmonary, and renal disorders are also the effects of obesity among the children. Hence, the study is effective to identify the impacts of childhood obesity, but there is lack of evidence about the strategic intervention to overcome the issue of obesity among the children.

Paper 5: Providing healthy diets for young children: the experience of parents in a UK inner cityJoanna Goldthorpe, a Nazneen Ali, a and Rachel Calam bInt J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2018; 13(1): 1490623.Published online 2018 Jul 10:

It is another evidence based study on obesity where early childhood obesity is increasing due to poor dieting and unhealthy food habit. The qualitative study is being conducted with semi structured interview with the parents in derived inner city area. Food parenting practice is necessary to be introduced to educate the parent in the society about the healthy dieting system for their child, through this program, it is possible to improve child health condition and maximise their skill and abilities in adolescence stage.

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Paper 6: The potential health impact of restricting less-healthy food and beverage advertising on UK television between 05.30 and 21.00 hours: A modelling studyOliver T. Mytton ,Emma Boyland,Jean Adams,Brendan Collins,Martin O’Connell,Simon J. Russell,Kate Smith,Rebekah Stroud, Russell M. Viner, Linda J. Cobiac PLOS MEDICINE Published: October 13, 2020:

The study is about understanding the poor diet system among the children which affects their growth and mental development. For tackling childhood obesity, it is mandatory to stop promoting unhealthy foods and beverages by the UK government. It is advantages to raise awareness and help the children to adopt healthy food habits in long run. Moreover the proportional multi-state life table mode is utilised to estimate the health impacts of prohibiting the advertisement of unhealthy foods and beverages with high sugar, salt and fat. The results show that HFSS television advertising restrictions between 05.30 hours and 21.00 hours in the UK s beneficial to reduce unhealthy food habits and reducing child obesity. The key strength of the analysis in this paper is that banning less healthy television advertisement has positive impacts on the child health condition where they can avoid the issue of obesity, overweight, diabetes. Nutrition-related public health policies and interventions are hereby important for the government of the UK and others social welfares organisations to enhance the habit of eating healthy food among the children for maximising their physical growth and mental health development.


Poor nutrition has adverse impacts on the physical and mental health condition of the child and the poor eating habit is associated with the under or over eating, not having enough and healthy food items, not having their food timely each day. The child starts having junk and sugar content food and beverages with high fat and salt. This is considered to be poor dieting habits among the children, where they are not guided with proper instruction of having food timely. Due to poverty, the children are suffering through poor dieting and it further hampers their physical and mental health growth in long run. The government adapts different strategic planning and intervene in the society for raising awareness about healthy food habit among the children.


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