Not only is the credit crunch bad for our pockets, but it could also be damaging our health.

According to a report by the Blood Pressure Association, many families have had to cut back on buying expensive fresh food and have ditched their gym membership in order to manage their debt problems. It seems that we are swapping our healthy lifestyles for a cheaper and unhealthier alternative, as some admit they are drinking more alcohol than before the credit crunch.

One in three of those polled never or rarely eats the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables, and a fifth said that they will have to cancel their gym membership because of financial problems. A healthy diet and lack of exercise could lead to high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Professor Graham Macgregor, the Blood Pressure Association’s chairman, said: “The dual effect on lifestyles of the credit crunch and lack of concern over long term health is putting the nation at risk of a blood pressure ticking time bomb.”