Healthy Lifestyles - UK - January 2012
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The state of the economy has been at the forefront of the news so frequently that many other concerns have been overshadowed by the pressing wider concerns about macroeconomic stability and personal financial worries and issues. However, the continuingly rising rate of adult and children’s obesity in the UK is a cause for concern, with recent Europe-wide reports putting Britain near the top of the most obese nations in Europe.
In some ways, austerity has had a positive impact on the habits of British adults with cooking from scratch becoming more popular and the interest in provenance of foods rising together with the desire to buy more local produce. That said, cooking from scratch often requires considerable effort (eg planning and preparation), with more time-poor adults resorting to faster but often less healthy options (eg ready meals, fast food).
This report exposes a widening divide between adults with higher incomes and those on low incomes, as the former are able to afford to take shortcuts to be in better physical and mental health and have more time to relax (eg gym memberships, hiring help for household chores and childcare). Conversely, those with lower incomes are frequently forced to prioritise their financial health rather than overall wellbeing leading to a lack of work/life balance. Thus, there is a greater disparity between those who can and cannot afford to be healthy.
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