National data show that, compared with higher income families, low income households consume fewer fruits and vegetables, get more energy from free sugars and consume less fibre. 4  Data from the 2015 Living Costs and Food Survey show that consumption of fruit and vegetables has fallen in lower income groups in recent years (between 2007 and 2014) while consumption of confectionary has increased. 5 These trends may be acting to further widen health inequalities across social groups.

The Hackney health and wellbeing survey identified differences in dietary behaviour across a number of measures of socio-economic status, for example: 6

  • home owners (42%) and full time workers (45%) are more likely to eat meals in restaurants at least once a week compared with social renters (20%) and part time workers (29%)
  • social renters (42%) are more likely to eat takeaway meals at least once per week compared to home owners (33%)
  • social tenants eat fewer fruits and vegetables compared to other residents (29% reach the ‘5-a-day’ guidance compared with 35% overall)
  • residents living in ‘rising prosperity’ areas are more likely to report eating ‘5-a-day’ (41%) and less likely to say they eat takeaways (30%) than those living in ‘urban adversity’ areas (30% and 43%, respectively)

Low income households are also at risk of food poverty and food insecurity (see ‘The food environment’ section of the ‘Society & environment’ JSNA chapter).

References

  1. DEFRA, “Family Food 2014,” ONS, 2014.
  2. DEFRA, “2.5: Percentage change in food purchases 2007-2014, in low income households (UK),” 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526395/foodpocketbook-2015update-26may16.pdf. [Accessed 10 October 2016].
  3. Ipsos MORI, “Health and Wellbeing in Hackney: Survey Report for Hackney Council,” 2015.
  4. DEFRA, “Family Food 2014,” ONS, 2014.
  5. DEFRA, “2.5: Percentage change in food purchases 2007-2014, in low income households (UK),” 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/526395/foodpocketbook-2015update-26may16.pdf. [Accessed 10 October 2016].
  6. Ipsos MORI, “Health and Wellbeing in Hackney: Survey Report for Hackney Council,” 2015.