PruHealth has announced that, according to its recent study, every one in five Brits (22%) is eating less healthily due to the rising cost of living.
With the UK dipping back into recession and food inflation on the rise, new data from PruHealth, the health insurance provider that rewards healthy behaviour, finds the continuing rise in cost of living means that 10.6 million Brits are not eating as healthily as they would like to and over half (52%) believe their health has suffered as a result of the recession.
The study, which ran at the start of the financial downturn in 2008 and again this year, highlights the nation’s health is sinking further into the doldrums in terms of its eating habits.
Over the last four years 75% of Brits have changed their eating and shopping habits and 85% of these stated the recession and or rising food prices as the cause for the change.
The ‘five-a-day’ mantra is one of the most high profile Government health campaigns, but the number of Brits struggling to reach the recommended target has increased by 26%. Three fifths (59%) admit they are currently finding it a challenge compared to 47% at the start of the recession in 2008
More than two thirds (68%) of Brits say healthier foods tend to be more expensive. One in six (16%) respondents said they’re buying as much as they can that is ‘reduced to clear’ and one in ten (11%) only buy foods that are on special offer. Worryingly, around one in four (24%) Brits say they regularly take vitamin supplements because they are unable to eat as healthily as they like or to supplement their diet.
Naturally most parents want to put their children’s health first and ensure they have a nutritionally balanced diet, but almost one in five (18%) are doing this at the expense of their own health. One in ten (9%) are even skipping meals so their children eat well.
Dr Dawn Richards, Head of Clinical Service at PruHealth, commented: “We can clearly see how people’s healthy eating habits have been affected, with the picture having got significantly worse since the start of the economic downturn. People are only too well aware of the need to eat healthily, but financial constraints are making it difficult, resulting in people’s health being negatively affected.”