Food poverty is underpinned by a number of different factors which include affordability, availability, cooking skills and education.
Food poverty means that an individual or household isn’t able to obtain healthy, nutritious food, or can’t access the food they would like to eat. Despite increasing choice and affordability of food in the UK, many people eat what they can afford, not what they want.
There is the basic concept of having enough money to afford to buy enough food, but even if families have enough, just enough money to prevent hunger, this most basic of objectives is made that much more difficult if a family has only a very limited range of food on offer, little or no ability to prepare and cook food, or if there are other fundamental crises. It also often means that food poverty can result in eating more of low quality foods if these are the more available and affordable option.
Due to this complex mix of factors, people on low incomes have the lowest intakes of fruit and vegetables and are far more likely to suffer from diet-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and coronary heart disease.
There are several definitions of food poverty, which makes it difficult to accurately assess levels of food poverty in a population, but what they all have in common is that if people have a poor quality diet, do not have the resources or access to sufficient and/or appropriately nutritious food necessary for a healthy life then they are experiencing food poverty.
Feeding Britain the All Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom, 2014 believes we should be a ‘Zero Hunger Britain’ in which everybody in this country has the resources, abilities and facilities to purchase, prepare and cook fresh, healthy and affordable food, no matter where they live’.
The Welsh Government is working with Public Health Wales and a range of stakeholders to identify and take forward key actions in Wales that can help to reduce the risk of people experiencing food poverty.
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