4 million children in UK too poor to have healthy diet, report claims
The report says the inability of low-income households to pay for healthy food increases the risk of obesity and diabetes, while also widening the gap in health inequality.
“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, executive director of the Food Foundation, in a statement.
“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.”
The report calls on the government to help solve the crisis by increasing benefit payments while also offering universal free school meals, and food vouchers for mothers on low incomes.
“It cannot be right that 50% of households in the UK currently have insufficient food budgets to meet the government’s recommended Eatwell Guide. A healthy diet, which we know is important for our health and development, should not be unaffordable to so many people,” lawmaker Sharon Hodgson, chair of the Children’s Future Food Inquiry committee, said in a statement.
“I hope that the government will look into this issue as a matter of urgency, in order to make eating a healthy diet more affordable.”
A bill that would require the government to measure food insecurity will receive its second reading in October.
The six-week school break represents a huge challenge for some families, with many unable to afford more than one hot meal a day.
Unicef defines food insecurity as “lack of secure access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that can ensure normal growth and development, as well as an active and healthy lifestyle.”
Almost 20% of children under 15 in the UK suffer from food insecurity, placing it well above the 12.7% average for rich countries, according to Unicef, which also scored the UK worse on food insecurity than Greece or Italy.
The report also ranked the country 16th out of 41 on tackling poverty, 15th on health and well-being, 31st on economic growth and sixth on reducing inequalities.
News credit : Cnn