This briefing reviews current diets and barriers to healthy food including price, marketing, skills and location. It then outlines current initiatives to improve diets.Jump to full report >>
British diets include insuffient fruit and vegetables, fibre and oily fish, and too much added sugar, salt and saturated fats. The average British adult consumes:
Lower levels of income and education are associated with less healthy diets. While diet is a problem for the population as a whole, there are also several potential barriers to healthy food that are more prounced for these groups. Economic barriers include food prices and food insecurity, while physical barriers include the availability of unhealthy food.
There are numerous opportunities to improve diets including education, improving school meals, reformulating food and restricting portion size and regulating advertising for unhealthy food. Evidence suggests there is no single best approach, but a range of potential strategies that may improve diet.
POST would like to thank the following interviewees for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing:
Authors: Jane Tinkler; Joseph Ritchie
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.