(Bloomberg) -- More Britons are saving money by eating food past its expiry date and by taking less prescription medicine after being squeezed by a winter of double-digit inflation.

A quarter of young people on paid-for prescription medicine are using less to reduce spending, and more than a fifth of all Britons are eating products past their use=by dates because of soaring food inflation, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday.

The figures underscore the difficulties many UK households are facing during a historic squeeze on living standards as wages fail to keep pace with price increases. Inflation picked up for the first time in four months in February, lingering above the level the Bank of England had expected.

The ONS said 16% of adults were classified as food insecure, meaning they are unable to buy enough food to lead a healthy life. People who have depressive symptoms, are economically inactive or unemployment, or live in the most deprived parts of England were the most likely to be food insecure.

The survey also found that record strains on the health service are stopping people seeking treatment. A fifth of adults reported needing to see their doctor but decided not to, with over half of those pointing to long waiting times.

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