The Cost of Healthy Eating

Photo courtesy of churl

As an employee in the healthcare industry, I’m privileged enough to hear the gripes and moans about the problems with our nation’s healthcare system.  There is a large strain on the country because of the rising costs of healthcare.  I’m sure there are plenty of things that could be amended in the current system, but we shouldn’t be so quick to point our fat fingers at everyone else.  Our nation is facing an obesity epidemic that I believe is a major source of the strain on our healthcare system.

According to the CDC, studies are showing that obesity rates are increasing in both adults and children.  The studies they mention span from 1976-1980 for the first and from 2003-2004 for the second.  Adult obesity rates rose from 15% to 32.9%.  In a 25 year time span, obesity rates among adults have more than doubled! What’s even more mind-boggling is the obesity rates among children.  In that same time span, obesity rates in children ages 12-19 rose from 5% to 17.4%.  In that same time span, childhood obesity has more than tripled!

Now that I’m becoming extremely conscious of what I’m eating, I’m coming to realize that healthy food just costs more money.  The December 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows the findings from the University of Washington on the subject.  Their article, The Rising Cost of Low-Energy-Density Foods found that energy dense foods (junk food) cost only $1.76 per 1,000 calories where the least energy dense foods (healthy food) cost $18.16 per 1,000 calories.  Not only that, but the price increase from 2004-2006 for the healthier foods was 19.5% whereas the junk food price dropped in price by 1.8%. 

Since Ashley and I have been eating healthier (lean meats, fruits, and vegetables) I’ve seen our weekly grocery bill increase by about 30%.  Keep in mind, this is without us buying sodas.  We’re buying less food and spending more money on it all.  It’s quite depressing.  There’s no way that a lower income family could afford the higher cost of healthier food.

[Cross Posted from digitalBush.]