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Is Britain in a Nutritional Recession?

vegetables

By Naomi Chan

As seen in Pegasus Pages (December 2012).

Comments on the news: 

‘Britain in nutrition recession as food prices rise and incomes shrink’

The Guardian on 18-11-2012

Britain is experiencing a nutritional recession as rising food prices and shrinking incomes are driving up the consumption of fatty foods and reducing the amount of fruit and vegetables which people now buy. This phenomenon is particularly serious amongst the poorest households in Britain.

Britain, a traditionally strong country in terms of economic power, has been experiencing a recession in her economy, over recent years. Although some economists have suggested that Britain is finally stepping out of the recession this year as there is positive economic growth, this kind of improvement in Britain’s economic development has yet not been enjoyed by people who are underprivileged in society – the low income earners. They still have to suffer from this so-called ‘nutrition recession,’ despite Britain starting to experience a renewed growth in her economy.

People receiving lower incomes, the elderly, and children are the most vulnerable groups in society – they are likely to be hit by the rise in food prices most severely. With stagnant wages and a limited amount of disposable income, the lower-income groups in British society are the worst affected nutritionally. They now eat less fruits and vegetables and consume more fatty and sugary foods that are cheaper. Fruit prices have risen by 34% since 2007, and vegetables by 22%. It is estimated that the number of people who regularly achieve the “five-a-day” fruit and vegetable guideline has declined by 900,000 over the past two years.

This is a worrying situation – a group of underprivileged people in Britain, a rich, economically developed country, is not able to afford basic necessities, such as healthy food.

It has always seemed that only people living in less economically developed countries face the problem of food shortages and their children are perceived on television to be the ones suffering from malnutrition. The reality is that even in a developed country such as Britain, there are still groups of people struggling to afford a healthy and balanced diet.  We should think of the children who can’t afford a healthy diet when we throw our food away after a meal. Let’s not ignore the children in less developed countries, but what about those children who live in the same country as us too? They are unable to afford healthy food and have no choice but to consume readymade meals such as instant noodles.

Before you throw your food into the bin today, please pause for a while and think of the number of children that could benefit from what you are wasting.

Photography: by Martin Cathrae on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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