Monday, January 14, 2008

Prices For Healthy Foods Are Getting Higher And Higher!

Healthy lifestyle is the key for heart disease prevention. This is an undeniable fact. But when we talk about healthy lifestyle, we cannot do away with healthy diet. In other words, healthy food forms an integrated part of our healthy life.

But regretfully, the prices of fruits and vegetables are now climbing faster than inflation, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington. The findings, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, also revealed that junk food is actually getting cheaper.

The researchers examined the prices of 372 foods and beverages at Seattle supermarket chains in 2004 and 2006 and found that low-calorie and nutrient-rich foods, mainly fruits and vegetables, were far more expensive than sweets and snack foods, based on comparison of calorie for calorie. While the price of the lowest-calorie fruits and vegetables was more than US$18.16 (S$26.33) per 1,000 calories, the most calorie-rich foods cost US$1.76 per 1,000 calories.

In fact, the average price of the lowest-calorie foods, including green vegetables, tomatoes and berries, increased by almost 20 per cent over 2 years. In the same time period, there was a 2-per cent drop in the cost of the most calorie-laden fare, such as butter, potato chips, cookies and candy bars. The 20-per cent increase in the cost of the lowest-calorie foods may very likely put those Americans who need these healthful foods the most out of reach.

This study highlighted a key obstacle to healthy eating. In addition, the fact that calorie-dense foods are the least expensive and most resistant to inflation, may also help explain why the highest rates of obesity continue to be observed among groups of limited economic means.

The researchers urged Americans to change their personal behavior and the government to make policy shifts that can help people eat more healthful foods, such as changes in the way they subsidizes the agricultural industry.

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