Four million UK children too poor to have a healthy diet-study
London, September 5, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Almost four million children in the UK live in households that would struggle to afford to buy enough fruit, vegetables, fish and other healthy foods to meet the official nutrition guidelines, a groundbreaking food poverty study reveals.
The research, by the Food Foundation thinktank, says the diminishing ability of low-income families to pay for healthy food is consigning the least well-off to a greater risk of diet related illness, such as obesity and diabetes, as well as widening health inequalities across society.
The poorest fifth of families would have to set aside more than 40% of their total weekly income after housing costs to satisfy the requirements of the government’s Eatwell guide, the study finds.
The authors of the report have called on ministers to increase welfare benefit payments and ensure healthy foods are made more widely available and affordable to low-income households, for instance through maternity food vouchers and universal free school meals.
“The government’s measurement of household income highlights the fact that millions of families in the UK cannot afford to eat in line with the government’s own dietary guidance,” said Anna Taylor, the executive director of the Food Foundation. “It’s crucial that a coordinated cross-government effort develops policy that accounts for the cost of its recommended diet and creates a food system that does not consign those on lower incomes to the risk of diet related illness.”