Poor UK Diets Fuel Childhood Obesity, Diabetes

England’s food is feeding a children’s health crisis.

Need to know: A report from The Food Foundation exposed the deterioration in British children’s health caused by calorie-dense diets and undernutrition.

Stemming from “shocking levels” of poverty, “aggressive promotion of cheap junk food”, and compounded by a cost-of-living crisis, its data reveals a generational decline.

  • Obesity increased by one-third in 10–11-year-olds since 2006, with most obese teens taking it into adulthood.
  • Over five years, type 2 diabetes prevalence has risen 22% in those under 25, with related amputations climbing 19%.
  • Indicative of malnutrition, the height of five-year-olds has fallen YoY since 2013, with underprivileged 10–11s measuring 1.3cm shorter than wealthier counterparts.
  • Life expectancy at birth fell by a year, while women in the most deprived areas experience 19 fewer years in good health than the most affluent.

With the country already counting 3M out of work for ill health – a 3.4% hit on GDP – the future of the rising generation relies on a food fix.

Taking action. Diet-driven illness is reversible, but change won’t be easy.

Among the authors’ responses to existing “lacklustre” policies, making healthy food more affordable, reducing junk food advertising and providing free school meals are paramount.

Looking ahead: While the report focuses on England, childhood obesity and its ramifications are a global problem. And a convergence of crises in nutrition, inactivity (in kids and adults) and mental health require collective, unwavering action.

Global health and fitness news, straight to your inbox.

Join a community of 20K+ industry operators and investors.

    No thanks.