Tuesday 27th September 2016                 Change text size:

Food poverty is causing malnutrition in the UK



Christian Schnettelker via flickr

Public health experts have warned that the number of people hospitalised for malnutrition in the UK has risen by 19% because people cannot afford good quality and nutritious food.

Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre has revealed that the number of people admitted to hospitals for poor diets has increased from 5,469 to 6,520 over the past year – a 19% rise.

Meanwhile, food prices have risen about 12% over the past seven years, while wages have been reduced of around 7%. This is despite the government pledging billions to fight the issue.

Speaking to the BBC, vice president of the Faculty of Public Health, John Middleton said, “It’s getting worse because people can’t afford good quality food. It’s getting worse where malnutrition, rickets and other manifestations of extreme poor diet are becoming apparent.

Health Minister Dan Poulter commented, “We want to reduce levels of malnutrition, particularly amongst frail and elderly people. We are working with Age UK on a half a million pound project, which aims to tackle the issue in a range of health and care settings.

“We’ve also given local authorities a £5.4 billion budget over two years to help them manage public health issues, including malnutrition, in their areas.”

There have been alarming signs of rising poverty in Britain from charities over the past years, especially following the 2008 financial crisis. While more and more people are slipping into fuel poverty because of higher energy bills, there have also been an increasing number of individuals turning to food banks to survive.

Latest figures from June from Trussell Trust, Church Action on Poverty and Oxfam revealed that there has been a 54% increase since 2012 of people asking for emergency food. At the same time, separate research warned that 33% of UK households are multiply deprived.

Photo:  Christian Schnettelker via flickr

Further reading:

Study finds 33% of UK households are multiply deprived

Food bank use continues to rise, with 54% increase in 12 months

Government ‘can’t ignore’ food poverty crisis, says leading charity

Poorest facing ‘toughest ever winter’, says food poverty charity

Charity calls for inquiry into ‘scandalous’ food poverty levels


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