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50,000 children suffer from food deprivation in Catalonia, according to the Catalan Ombudsman

The Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, announced on Monday that 4% of children under the age of 16 suffer from food deprivation. Almost 50,000 children are not eating meat or fish at least once every two days, meaning they do not have a sufficient intake of protein. However, Ribó rejected there was a structural problem of malnutrition and linked the phenomenon to the economic crisis’ effects. Ribó asked the Catalan Government to act immediately to ensure that all children have access to enough food. The Ombudsman proposed 33 recommendations to reduce the child poverty rate, which currently stands at 28%, with approximately 345,000 children under the age of 16 living in poverty. The rate of extreme poverty has also increased in recent years and affects a tenth of Catalan children (130,000).

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05 August 2013 09:14 PM

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ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- A  report issued on Monday by the Catalan Ombudsman, Rafael Ribó, highlighted the level of food deprivation, malnutrition and poverty that exists among children in Catalonia. 4% of children under the age of 16 are said to suffer from food deprivation, which represents almost 50,000. According to Ribó, there are “tens of thousands of cases” of malnourished children in that they are not eating enough, are not eating properly and do not have a balanced diet. However, he did assure that Catalonia does not have a structural problem with regards malnutrition and he linked the current phenomenon to the economic crisis’ effects. The amount of Catalan households that cannot afford meat or fish at least once every two days has increased six fold in three years, from 2008 to 2011, which means their children are thus not eating a sufficient quantity of protein. Severe poverty, which roughly affects a 10% of Catalan children (around 130,000) has also risen in recent years. Furthermore, Catalan households that suffer from material deprivation more than tripled between 2008 and 2011. Ribó asked the Catalan Government to act immediately and proposed 33 recommendations to ensure that all children have access to a sufficient amount of food. He highlighted the need to lower the rate of child poverty which stands at 28%, with approximately 345,000 children under the age of 16 affected.


The Catalan Ombudsman reported that these problems are compounded by the difficulties that many families have in obtaining an income sufficient to allow children to eat in school canteens. Among the 33 recommendations made by Ribó include solving problems with regards to food subsidies at the start of the next school year. It has also been recommended that a shared protocol be created for local authorities in order to quickly detect cases of child malnutrition.

Ribó also called for the provision of free summer camps in all municipalities of Catalonia to ensure that all children raised in poverty can take part in leisure activities and be guaranteed at least one proper meal per day. The importance of these leisure activities for vulnerable children was highlighted and the Ombudsman requested that schools are open during the whole year, even during holiday months in order to host some leisure activities and workshops. The main recipients of these recommendations are the Catalan Departments of Business and Employment, Social Affairs, Health and Education, as well as municipal councils.

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  • A school canteen in Central Catalonia (by E. Escolà)

  • A school canteen in Central Catalonia (by E. Escolà)