As households are hit by rising prices on the shelves and soaring energy bills, the squeeze on finances has seen nearly a third of UK adults eat less healthily than the previous year, a study shows.
About one in three, or 32%, admitted their diet had become worse as they turned to cheaper processed or frozen produce in order to save money. The figure was as high as 45% among 35–44-year-olds.
The statistics were revealed in a telephone poll of more than 2,000 UK adults conducted earlier this month on behalf of the specialist debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty.
The survey found that more than half, or 53%, of the 2,057 people surveyed said they were in a worse financial state than last year.
One in five said their financial situation was "much worse".
The study found evidence of a North–South divide with nearly 60% of people from the North saying their finances have worsened in the past 12 months, with this falling to less than half, or 48%, of people from London.
The charity, which has head offices in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said it was concerned about the effects of the credit crunch and rising food prices on Government efforts to tackle the obesity crisis and encourage healthier eating habits.
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"A little, now I have to cut down on expensive foods and stick to 99p mcdonalds saver menus or kfc snack box etc, especially how im 19, full time student and part time care worker" - Lauren D, Birmingham
"Yes. But we are eating less on a diet of fruit and veg (we do not need to have meat everyday); supplementing with pulses, nuts and seeds; freezing whats left over for another day, including bread; and taking out only what we need at one time. A healthier option which takes a little thought and planning but is better than processed foods! Quality versus quantity in my opinion." - Pat, Sussex