UK Food Foundation: Four million children have poor diets


UK Food Foundation: Four million children have poor diets

Liz Smith

17 September 2018

As children return to school for a new academic year, a report by the UK Food Foundation, “Affordability of the UK’s Eatwell Guide,” reveals that nearly 3.7 million children live in families unable to afford a healthy diet.

A healthy diet is defined by the government’s Public Health Eatwell Guide. The Guide splits the diet into a five-category pie chart: fruit and vegetables; potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates; beans, pulses (legumes), fish, eggs, meat and other proteins; dairy and alternatives; and oils and spreads. Each section of the pie chart is based on the proportion of the diet that should come from each category and based on research at Oxford University.

The report shows:

• 3.7 million children in the UK are living in households earning less than £15,860 and are likely to be unable to afford a healthy diet as defined by the government.

• The bottom 20 percent of families would have to spend 42 percent of their after-housing income on food to eat the government’s recommended diet.

• As a proportion of their income, the poorest 20 percent would spend nearly four times what the richest 20 percent of UK families need to spend on food to meet the Eatwell Guide.

• 14 million households (half of all households in the UK) currently do not spend enough to meet the cost of government’s recommended diet.

• Widening inequality is leading to higher rates of childhood obesity in deprived areas, with 26 percent of children in Year 6 (age 11) obese compared to 11 percent in England’s richest communities.

The Eatwell Guide is taught to school age children. Cooking and Nutrition was introduced into the English national curriculum for pupils…

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