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Malnutrition threat to the UK

22 August 2014

This morning (22nd August), the BBC has broadcast through multiple channels the significant 19% rise in the number of people admitted to hospital with malnutrition over the past year, passing the blame to worsening food poverty. Kirsty Nolan, analyst at Canadean, investigates.

A recent Canadean UK survey found that 1 in 4 (26%) consumers lack awareness of the link between poor nutritional intake and how it leads to malnutrition. This shows that vast numbers of the adult population are not educated or aware of malnutrition or its causes. In fact, another Canadean survey revealed that 27% of consumers never or rarely eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, highlighting that even the simplest of nutritional guidance such as the ‘5 a day’ is not being adhered to. Furthermore, 8% of consumers reveal that they are not aware of what food is healthy versus what is unhealthy – a worrying statistic for the UK’s nutritional health.

Eating healthy comes with a hefty price tag

Alongside a lack of knowledge around the topic of malnutrition, many consumers believe that eating healthy comes at a price they simply cannot afford. 40% of UK consumers believe that grocery prices are rising at a rate of at least 10% per year. Kirsty Nolan, analyst with Canadean, states: “Despite the growing media attention surrounding malnutrition, consumers remain very cost conscious in light of recent hard economic times. Consumers have proudly adopted the principles of being savvy shoppers and are always on the look-out for a bargain. Indeed 43% of consumers say that in 2013 they took greater advantage of promotions and price drops – which can have an impact on balanced and nutritional diets.”  

Education will prove key

The annual cost of malnutrition, estimated at £13billion a year by Age Concern, will be a heavy burden to the already stretched NHS. This is an issue that the government and organisations across the UK will have to battle. Nolan adds: “Education on how to eat healthily on a budget will be essential in proactively preventing this problem among our younger generations. Both parents and children need to be aware of the importance of healthy eating and the consequences that result from an unhealthy diet.” 

 

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Editor’s notes

All numbers used in this text are based on recent Canadean consumer surveys of answers from 2,000 UK-based adults.

For further information

Please get in contact if you have any questions to this or other Canadean reports. Contact the Canadean press office on +44 (0) 20 3220 0815 or email press@canadean.com

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