Members of low-income households in the UK are more likely to have patterns of food and nutrient intakes that are less inclined to lead to good health outcomes in the short and long term. Health inequalities, including the likelihood of child and adulthood obesity, have long been documented in the UK and show little sign of improving so far, despite 10 years of attention from a government that has committed itself to addressing them. Following the Acheson Inquiry into Inequalities in Health (1998) in England a number of initiatives to tackle inequalities in food and diet were established, both nationally and within the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Nevertheless, until recently, there has been no overall strategic policy addressing the food and nutritional needs of low-income households. The present paper reviews how the problems have been constructed and understood and how they have been addressed, briefly drawing on recent evaluations of food and nutrition policies in Scotland and Wales. The contemporary challenge is to frame cross-cutting policy initiatives that move beyond simple targeting and local actions, encompass a life-course approach and recognise both the diversity of households that fall into ‘low-income’ categories and the need for ‘upstream’ intervention
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