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Related to: Diet and Malnutrition, Inequalities, Eating Disorders, Life Expectancy, Physical Activity, Wellbeing, Diabetes Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, Cancer

Food poverty

Food Poverty is defined by the Department of Health as “ The inability to afford, or have reasonable access, to food that makes up a healthy diet. 1

UK dietary intake and eating behaviours are related to socio-economic factors with less healthy diets strongly associated with lower income. 2 In Bath and North East Somerset areas of high deprivation have higher rates of child obesity and unhealthy weight and a lower percentage of population eating at least 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day.  Dietary inequality is related to food poverty.

People who are food poor may have enough to eat but rather their diets are deficient in essential nutrients and vitamins, vegetables and dietary fibre and are often high in sugar, saturated fats and refined carbohydrates.

Dietary inequalities contribute to inequalities in health. Poor diet and nutrition are recognised as major contributory risk factors for ill health including type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease, cancer and arthritis. 3.

Please see the JSNA pages on diet and malnutrition and National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for more information about the health risks of a poor diet and prevalence of unhealthy weight and obesity across B&NES. 

Barriers to healthy eating; Contributing factors to food poverty

The causes of food poverty are complex and driven by inter-relating financial, physical and social factors. Lack of access to the necessary finance coupled with inadequate physical resources (i.e. cooking facilities, local food shops, access to transport) along with the impact of cultural norms, cooking skills and knowledge, social networks and the impact of marketing of unhealthy foods – are all inter-related factors that can combine to enhance food poverty. 4.

Please see the following pages for further information:

Are we meeting the needs?

B&NES Council was awarded the B&NES Sustainable Food Cities Bronze Award in 2016 for taking a holistic approach to food and achieving significant outcomes on a range of food issues such as food poverty. Please see the SFC award application for an overview of existing interventions to address food poverty across Bath and North East Somerset.