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Myth: The rich care more about eating healthy and spend more money on food than the poor

TRUTH: This myth bothers me so much. First, no one wants to feel tired, sluggish, out of shape, or have diseases. Some people are less motivated – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t care. False assumption.

Second, in a recent study published by the USDA, low income populations (food stamp recipients) were significantly more likely to believe that it is very important to choose a diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, choose a diet low in fat and eat at least two servings of dairy daily. In another recent study low-income families were found to cook dinner at home 5 nights a week and aspire to eat healthy. Verdict: both the attitudes and behavior of low-income families reflect a desire to eat healthy.

Third, low-income families spend a much larger percent of their income on food. In fact, they spend 2-4 times as much. Healthy food is simply harder to come by if you live in a less affluent neighborhood. The conventionally grown produce at grocery stores is less than appetizing and food deserts make it nearly impossible for those in rural areas to afford the gas and the food from a decent source.

BOTTOM LINE: Don’t assume that because low-income populations are the most overweight and obese of any socioeconomic group, they care the least about healthy eating. In fact, the reverse is true. Improved food education and access to healthy food greatly improves the health of those with limited resources and improving the health of our nation requires that we meet the desires and needs to keep everyone healthy.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

  1. USDA’s Dietary Intake and Dietary Attitudes Among Food Stamp Participants and Other Low-Income Individuals
  2. The President’s Food Safety Working Group: National Prevention Strategy: Healthy Eating

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