Nearly one in 10 deprived areas in England and Wales do not have easy access to healthy, affordable food products, new study shows.
The think tank Social Market Foundation (SMF) has carried out in-depth research into the economic barriers to healthy eating.
It found that 8% of the most deprived areas in England and Wales are what the authors describe as ‘food deserts’, i.e. areas that are poorly served by food stores.
In these areas, individuals without a car or with disabilities that hinder mobility may find it difficult to easily access a wide range of healthy, affordable food products, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
According to the SMF’s research, this affects 1.2 million individuals.
One in eight (12%) people told the researchers that ‘not being near a supermarket offering healthy food at low prices’ was a barrier to being able to eat more healthily, while 7% said not having access to a car to travel to the supermarket was a barrier.