Healthy not only for the wealthy

Izzy Bohanek, Contributing Writer

Over the years, it is starting to be noticed that healthy foods have higher prices than junk foods, but why? In order for people to be healthy, healthier foods should be cheaper and more accessible. It would lower obesity rates, lower chronic diseases related to poor diets, and make the overall population healthier.

Students at Harvard School of Public Health have crunched the numbers and its official that the healthiest diets cost $1.50 more than unhealthy diets per day. Although it may not seem like much of an increase, just a dollar and a half increase is a lot for people who are running tight on money. That is the issue; food policies currently support inexpensive but high volume production and favored easily manufactured and processed foods that provide more profit.

Yes, some may believe that higher quality foods should have a higher price, although, if the foods were of a lower price, it is expected that there would also be more of the foods bought. People are more likely to spend more for their money, therefore, it make sense to have the prices of foods be cheaper because in the end, it would be better for both the producer as well as the buyers.

Adam Drewnowski, the director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, shared that based on his findings, a 2,000 calorie diet consisting of junk food would only cost $3.52 a day. Then, he predicted that if the diet consisted of 2,000 calories of healthy food, it would be $36.32. Of course people would take the easy way out and buy the junk food, which is why lowering the prices for healthy foods would be convenient for all of us.

Health issues linked to unhealthy eating is also because of junk foods. If we decreased the prices of the foods, health care costs for chronic diseases related to poor diets may also start to drop. The findings reported in the current issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association show the rates of obesity are seen among people in lower-income groups. Studies also show that three in four obese teens grow up to become obese adults. This can predispose to serious ailments like degenerative arthritis, heart disease, stroke and several forms of cancer.

Yes, there are other causes for these diseases, and it cannot be pointed at just unhealthy foods, but taking the step and making the healthy foods a little over equal priced for junk food can help prevent them. Once the prices are more reasonable, healthy foods will most likely be the new alternative compared to junk food, overall making the buyers healthier.

The average American spends $7 on food a day, and lower income people spend $4. If the prices of healthy foods were decreased, people with not much money will be able to eat healthier. Having reasonable priced, healthy foods will benefit everyone. Everyone should have a shot to being healthy, not just the wealthy.