A new study by charity Vitamin Angels UK of 2,000 parents has found parents are making less healthy choices for their families because they’re feeling the pinch from higher interest rates and increased food prices.

Of the 178 South West mums and dads questioned, two-thirds (66%) are buying less fruit and vegetables due to rising costs, indicating financial strain as a significant barrier to accessing healthy food.

Three in five (59%) said the current cost-of-living crisis negatively affects their child’s diet, with two-thirds (68%) saying they’ve noticed a shortage of fruit and vegetables in supermarkets recently

Just under a third (28%) said their children are consuming just two servings of fruits and vegetables per day, revealing a substantial gap in meeting dietary guidelines of five servings a day. 

Three in five (62%) of respondents said they need additional financial support; relying on government benefits, assistance from friends and family, and even food banks to get nutritious food on the table. Half (48%) feel pessimistic about the future, believing that the cost of living crisis will not improve in the next six months.

Commenting on how they feel about the cost of living crisis’ effect on their child’s diet, one of the parents said:

“Although I still ensure my children have a healthy and varied diet, we are having to reduce portion size to stretch things further and I am having to buy lower quality ingredients than I would like.”

Another commented:

“Everything is far too expensive and the cost of food prevents me from cooking fresh. My child currently has pouched puree as it lasts longer and is cheaper to use.”

Vitamin Angels’ Vice President of Programs (American spelling, as it is a global organisation), Corinne Mazzeo, MHS, said:

“These statistics underscore the urgent need for comprehensive action to address the childhood nutrition crisis in the United Kingdom. Vitamin Angels UK’s survey findings highlight the importance of making fruits and vegetables affordable and accessible to families, as well as the need for increased support systems to help families ensure their kids eat as many nutritious foods as possible.”

Image by Kathrin Pienaar from Pixabay

“Policymakers, communities and individuals need to prioritise the wellbeing of our children by addressing the systemic issues affecting their nutrition. We need to work together to create a healthier and brighter future for every child in the United Kingdom.”

Vitamin Angels UK works with a wide variety of partners to help address food insecurity, increase dietary diversity, and promote healthy eating choices, growth, and development among young children.

For more information about National Childhood Nutrition Day and ways to support Vitamin Angels UK’s mission to provide healthy supplemental food, free of charge, to select nurseries in the UK serving children who are at nutritional risk, please visit vitaminangels.org.uk