Study: For Low-Income Families, Food Equals Fun

Aug. 25, 2022
Low-income families often feed their children unhealthy food as an alternative to more expensive recreational activities, according to a new study.

Low-income families often feed their children unhealthy food as an alternative to more expensive recreational activities, according to a new British study.

Researchers from the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London tracked the food consumption habits and other behavior of 60 low-income parents in three regions across England. It found that when families are unable to afford vacations or visits to play centers, they often treat their children to snacks or meals with good-tasting foods of poor nutritional value. This occurs with visits to fast-food restaurants or even things like snacks with movies or board games at home.

The report, published in the medical journal Health & Place, recommends reducing, as much as possible, promotions and outlets for unhealthy food in low-income neighborhoods; increasing the number of affordable family activities in those neighborhoods, and reducing financial insecurity in general though the social safety net.

“Policy to address inequalities will only work if it recognizes that food is more than just nutrition and must meet a wider range of people's needs, such as social and economic well-being,” said lead researcher Corinna Hawkes, a professor at City, University of London.

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