Household income, food marketing and geographic location are 3 factors that have been identified by Australian researchers that are potentially influencing food choices in Australian homes. Household Income
The cost of nutrient dense food is a determinant of health (Palermo, 2011). Income determines the household food budget which influences the variety of, and quality of the food purchased. Lee, Ralston and Truby (2011) conducted a study that “examines the effect of food cost on diet quality and risk factors for chronic disease” (Lee et al, 2011) within the Australian population. This study confirms that food prices affect food choices that reflect diet quality that determines disease risks. The cost of health foods has increased in comparison to lesser healthy foods (Lee et al, 2011), this increase in price has negatively affected low income households as their options on selecting healthy food is now limited to what is affordable to them. As a result of unhealthy eating there is an increase chance of diet-related lifestyle diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease among the low income earners. A method to help optimal outcomes on Australia’s health is food price modification. In which pricing is increased on ‘junk’ food and decreased in healthy and nutrient dense foods, Lee et al, states that “food price modification could potentially lead to change in food choices” (2011). In addition, Giske, Turrell, Patterson and Newman (2002) performed a study to determine the fruit and vegetable consumption of Australian adults, the surveyed 8883 adults aged between 18 -64. Their study showed results that participants from a low income household ate smaller portions of fruits and vegetables and had a lower nutrient intake in contrast to high income households. Giske et al, reported price as the most influential barrier experienced by low income earners (2011), a finding that is also supported by Lee et al, 2011.
Children also face the health disadvantages experienced by low income households. Ramsey, Giskes, Turrell and Gallegos (2011) name food insecurity as a major disadvantage encountered, in their study. Food insecurity occurs, when factors such as low income households result in limited access to nutritional food and an inadequate supply of food. Children’s food choices are influenced by the food that is available to them (Campbell, Crawford and Hesketh, 2006), as food insecurity restricts a variety of food available they begin to develop poor diet habits. The child holistic health and wellbeing is negatively impacted due to food insecurity, as they may also experience poorer general health, fail to achieve academically, develop emotional problems, behavioural disorders, become underweight or overweight (Ramsey et al, 2011). In order to close the gap between the socioeconomic groups, strategies must be put into place. Strategies such as the food price modification (Lee et al,2011), Intervention programs that target food insecurity and address specific barriers experienced by low income households such as promoting inexpensive ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake (Ramsey et al, 2011)(Giske et al, 2002) and educating programs that focus on the protective effects of fruit and vegetables for chronic diseases, provides information on with foods contain high levels of nutrients and informing parents on children-feeing technique’s (Giske et al, 2002)( Campbell et al,2006).
Lee et al, study findings report that a “healthy diet was either barely affordable or not affordable at all for low income earners” (2011). Along with the studies previously mentioned, it is clear to see that household income is a predominant health factor that influences the current and future population of Australia.
Food companies use a range of marketing techniques such as television advertising to persuade consumers to purchase their products. Australia has one of highest...
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