"...all doctors should be able to diagnose and treat nutritional deficiencies."

Royal College of Physicians. Nutrition and Patients: A Doctor's Responsibility. London 2002

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Socio-Economic Deprivation

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Despite the economic and health advances of the 20th and 21st socio-economic deprivation is still a major risk factor for nutritional deficiency

  • Lack of knowledge and social isolation are long-established risk factors for limited or poor food choices.
  • Economic hardship results in limited food choices and particularly a poor intake of fruit and vegetables.
  • In the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of British adults the dietary intake of vitamin C in adults is one third higher in those who are not receiving benefits compared with those who are. 
  • In the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of British adults being in a household in which at least one adult was in receipt of benefit payment doubled the risk of having an intake of many nutrients that was below the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake, LRNI.  This applied to vitamins A, B2 – riboflavin, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine and iron. 
  • Women were more vulnerable to the effect of socio-economic deprivation than men with regard to the above nutrients
  • The Low Income Diet and Nutrition Survey of British People aged 8 years and upwards revealed a much higher prevalence of poor intake or actual deficiency in families or individuals who are in receipt of benefit.  The prevalence of deficiency is approximately double that of the population average.

Despite these problems it is not very difficult to eat a nutritious and healthy diet on a modest budget.  The emphasis should be on simple fresh basic foods.

Reference:

http://www.food.gov.uk.science/dietarysurveys/lidnsbranch

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Copyright Dr. Alan Stewart M.B.B.S.M.R.C.P. (UK)M.F. Hom.
47 Priory Street, Lewes, East Sussex. BN7 1HJ
Tel 01273 487003 Fax: 01273 487576