Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is Price a Barrier to Eating More Fruits and Vegetables for Low-Income Families?

But not according to a new study.
"The new dietary guidelines, which include more dark green vegetables, orange vegetables and legumes, are based on solid science and have the potential to help protect Americans from some of the leading causes of death, including stroke, heart disease and diet-related cancers," said lead author Diana Cassady, an assistant professor of public health sciences and researcher at the UC Davis Center for Advanced Studies in Nutrition and Social Marketing. "But, we need to take the next step to ensure that all consumers can actually afford to follow the guidelines. Low-income families have less discretionary income than more affluent families. Buying the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables would take up a large proportion, perhaps an unacceptable proportion, of their food budgets."
The barrier to eating fruits and vegetables is, well, fruits and vegetables.

Some folks just don't like them. Take my family.
We are not poor, we do not take a vacation to Hawaii every year, or any year for that matter, but we pay our bills and live comfortably. If I did not do half the grocery shopping there would be one bag of Fuji or Gala apples in the crisper drawer of the fridge and a five pound sack of potatoes in our pantry. That would be the extent of our family's fruit and vegi consumption.

I love vegetables. When I shop, I fill up the crisper. The darker green the better, spinach, mustard greens, artichokes, broccoli even brussel sprouts, I enjoy them all.

When I make a batch of greens, I make enough for myself because I know the rest of family will turn their noses up at it. I get a collective ewww out of them as I serve up my sprouts with dinner.

If you are poor, its a pretty safe bet you are not well educated, and you may have some self discipline issues to boot. Not a group to that makes the wisest decision right?

So if I have a choice spending my $1.08 on a 13 ounce bag of -

Blazin' Buffalo and Ranch Doritos

or two bunches of celery at 47 cents each

or three pounds of oranges at 39 cents a pound

Guess what choice 90 percent of people will make?
Which is why Frito Lay's revenue is an astounding 8.5 Billion dollars, thats billion with a B.

Look, if you gave away free broccoli at the food stamp offices, I would bet that one person in five would bother to take it home. So what does our government funded study find as the answer to this problem?
You guessed it, spend more tax dollars!

Her study suggests a combination of strategies, including distributing discount coupons for fruits and vegetables; increasing food stamp allocations; promoting low-cost sources of produce such as farmers' markets, community-supported agriculture and warehouse grocery centers or bulk stores; and counseling consumers on household budgeting approaches that could help them purchase more vegetables.

The word promote means spend tax dollars by the way.

Here is my solution, take the money we are going to spend to 'promote' farmers markets and bulk stores and hire Frito Lay to make and market a new product that uses fruits and vegetables as the main ingredients. If that fails, start subsidizing coupons so if you buy three bunches of celery, you get a free bag of Blazin Buffalo and Ranch Doritos.

Or you could just face the fact that most people choose refined sugar and salt over healthy foods.

1 comment:

javieth said...

I think the obesity is very danger for everybody, is like a pump that can explot any time. So is necesary to take care exercising and taking good and healthy food and stop eating junk food.If you eat more vegetables or fruits will see a big difference in our life. The life is too short, so we need to take care of us every single day for enjoy the things that the life gave to us. I bought my house through costa rica homes for sale and i enjoy it every day.