London: A study of the UK’s eating habits has found that the poor eat just as well as the rich.
The £5 million ($11.7 million) study by Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), examined the eating habits of 3,500 people and discovered thatthe nutritional value of the food eaten by the poorest 15 per cent in society was little different from the average. These findings go against previous reports which linked poverty to a bad diet.
The study also found the rate of obesity, which has often been linked to poverty, was at a similar level among the poor as it is in the general population. The poorest families were consuming similar amounts of saturated fat, but were eating slightly more sugar and slightly less fruit and vegetables.
The study group were eating above the recommended levels of saturated fat, but their consumption — about 13 of energy intake — was similar to the general population.
The children were also similar to their more affluent counterparts, eating the same amounts of snacks and fizzy drinks.
Average consumption of fruit and vegetables was half the recommended five portions a day. This was slightly lower than in the general population.
The report suggested supermarkets, which typically set out fruit and vegetable displays near the entrance of stores, might in some ways be helping to improve the UK diet.
Researchers found women who shopped at large supermarkets consumed significantly higher amounts of fruit and vegetables than other women.
The study also found increasing awareness among lower-income families about the need to eat healthier food, with more than 75 per cent of those surveyed saying they wanted to improve their diet.