A letter to the British Medical Journal from senior health practitioners warns that food poverty is leading to a national health emergency in the UK. Reports of malnourished children, who make up 1 in 3 of food bank users are worrying doctors and academics who wrote that “A surge in the number of people requiring emergency food aid, a decrease in the amount of calories consumed by British families, and a doubling of the number of malnutrition cases seen at English hospitals represent “all the signs of a public health emergency that could go unrecognised until it is too late to take preventative action,”.
They also suggest that the government is attempting to conceal research commissioned by Defra on the link between food poverty and welfare reform because it may be embarrassing for the government.
Malnourished children can suffer long term damage to health and development
The authors have tried in vain to speak to the DWP about sharing their data and experiences in order to help tackle the problem, but said that “We’ve had refusals, letters saying they do not want to talk to us. We find that deeply disappointing.”
A petition for a parliamentary debate on food poverty in UK has been launched. When the petition reaches 150,000 signatures it could trigger the debate.