A healthy eating charity is calling for €1 million from the government to combat food poverty.
The call was made by Health Food For All (HFfA) after research revealed that food poverty is on the rise in Ireland with 600,000 people being affected by it in 2013 alone.
The findings released by the Department of Social Protection have shown that food poverty – which is the inability to afford or access healthy food – has hit children, lone-parent families and the unemployed particularly hard. One in five Irish children go to school or bed hungry.
The HFfA is calling for the investment in 2016 to help ensure that each county has at least one Community Food Initiative to improve the affordability of healthy food for low income groups and empower people to address their nutritional needs at local level.
Food prices in Ireland remain above the European average and the cost of food varies
depending on access to different food outlets. Lack of access to multiple or discount
supermarkets means food costs are significantly higher if bought in a local convenience
Sinéad Keenan, a spokesperson for HFfA
The healthy eating crisis has arisen as it is ten times cheaper to provide calories in the form of unhealthy foods that are high in
fat, salt and sugar than it is the form of healthy foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, lean
meat and fish.
Socially-disadvantaged households consume less nutritionally-balanced diets and suffer from higher rates of diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and certain cancers at a younger age.
If you'd like to learn more about initiatives offered by Health Food For All, click here.