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How Income and Geographic's Affect Food Choices

By escape172 Apr 05, 2009 708 Words
How Income and Geographic’s Affect Food Choices By Eric Culver COM 150 Caroline Scott-Thomas (2009) has reported that it has been proposed that food stamps should only be allowed to be used for purchasing healthy foods in order to combat obesity amongst the poor, who are disproportionately overweight compared with American society as a whole. Some have argued that the demand for healthy foods would increase and prices would rise due to higher demands and low supply. According to Shannon N. Zenk (2009) incentives such as tax breaks can encourage markets to offer more healthy foods. Another strategy is to give cash subsidies to the poor for the purchase of fruits and vegetables. "Obesity and numerous chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes are more prevalent in low-income than higher income neighborhoods," Zenk said. "Ensuring that residents of these neighborhoods have access to nutritious foods is a critical first step to promoting healthy eating and, in turn, reversing the obesity epidemic and preventing chronic diseases." The Fall 2008 Rudd Report concluded that “the lack of affordable, healthy foods is linked to higher incidence of obesity, diabetes, and other related health problems. The limited resources for food in low-income neighborhoods causes decreased food expenditures and a lower-quality diet higher in fat and calories, leading to obesity and overweight. Lona Sandon (2008) has tips for finding healthy foods even when the pickings are slim. According to Sandon, shop early in the morning on weekends when produce shelves are freshly stocked. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a good substitute for fresh and they keep longer. Canned fruits and vegetables are also a good substitute for when fresh is not optional. For fruit, look for those that are packed in their own juices or water. If only heavy syrup is available, be sure to drain and rinse before eating to cut out added sugar. Look for low-sodium options in the canned vegetable isle. If they are not available, be sure to drain and rinse the vegetables before eating. Canned beans count as a vegetable and are a good source of protein, fiber, folate and other important vitamins and minerals, Sandon noted. When shopping for meat, look for the leanest cuts available. Trim any visible fat or remove the skin to lower the saturated fat of lower-cost fatty cuts. According to Sandon (2008), it may be hard to find skim milk in smaller stores but most at least carry 2% milk in addition to whole milk. Go for the 2%. This cuts out three grams of saturated fat per cup. Sandon (2008) also adds that for cereal, pick oatmeal over the ready-to-eat cereals with added sugar. A serving of oatmeal counts as a whole grain and is a staple food carried by most grocery stores. Mark Schlarbaum (2008) suggests families use the food pyramid to plan out what meals to cook. Schlarbaum (2008) says that families should always choose the foods that they prepare from the bottom of the food pyramid because they are more economical, filling and less fattening. With limited access to healthy foods and the high prices associated with these foods, the poor, all too often, make unhealthy food decisions, for two main reasons. First, quality fresh fruits and produce are not always accessible to the poor. But most importantly, fruits and vegetables are expensive. References Baughman, Sarah. (2007). Healthy Eating—It’ll Cost You! Retrieved February, 23, 2009 from ReOrbit. (2005). Poor Have Difficulty Eating Healthy Foods. Retrieved February, 13, 2009, from Sandon, L. (2008) Healthy Foods Harder to find in Poor Neighborhoods. Retrieved March, 23, 2009 from Schlarbaum, Mark, Janet. (2008). _Helping the Poor._ Retrieved March, 24, 2009 from Story from BBC NEWS: By Dr Martin Caraher and Dr Elizabeth Dowler, Food Poverty Experts. (2005). Retrieved February, 13, 2009, from Webster, J. (2008). News Release, American Food: Still the Best Deal in the World. Retrieved March, 2, 2009 from Williams, C. (2007). Eating Healthy Might Prove Too Expensive for Poor. Zenk, S. (2008) Healthy Foods Harder to Find in Poor Neighborhoods. Retrieved March, 23, 2009 from

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