Data collected in 2013 show primary and secondary diagnoses of malnutrition (caused by lack of food or very poor diet) rose from 3,161 in 2008/09 to 5,499 in 2012/13 according to figures released by the health minister Norman Lamb.
While the data does not include information on the circumstances of each diagnosis, the rise coincides with a dramatic increase in the cost of living, and a spike in demand for charity food hand-outs.
Rural areas suffered the most. Hospitals in Somerset saw the most cases, followed by Cornwall and the Scilly Isles.
Cases of Rickets, the disease caused by a deficiency in Vitamin D, is also on the rise from 561 in 2008/9 to 702 in 2012/13.
Whilst the government continues to deny the continued rise in the use of foodbanks is anything to do to Welfare Reform, it didn’t really offer anything in the way of a credible explanation for the rise in malnutrition and rickets, saying only ” The Government has taken action to help families, cutting income tax for 25 million people and taking 2.7 million out of income tax altogether – saving a typical taxpayer over £700 a year, freezing council tax for five years and freezing fuel duty. Our advice for a healthy diet is to eat the right number of calories for how active you are and to eat a wide range of foods to ensure that you’re getting a balanced diet and that your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs.”