Nearly 4 million UK children are ‘too poor’ to eat healthy. A worrying report by the Food Foundation has found that many households struggle to afford fruit, vegetables, and other foods vital for a healthy lifestyle.
The poorest fifth of families, according to the report, would need to spend 42 percent of their after-house income on food to meet the government guidelines, almost four times what the richest 20 percent of British families must spend. This, the report says, increases the risk of obesity and diabetes and widens 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 with this “crisis” by not only increasing benefit payments but offering universal free school meals and food vouchers for mothers on low incomes.
“t cannot be right that 50% of households in the UK currently have insufficient food budgets to meet the government’s recommended Eatwell Guide,” lawmaker Sharon Hodgson, chair of the Children’s Future Food Inquiry committee, said in a statement. “A healthy diet, which we know is important for our health and development, should not be unaffordable to so many people.”