Meet­ing nu­tri­tional goals comes with hefty price tag

Modern Healthcare - - Outliers -

Pub­lic health ex­perts try­ing to get peo­ple to eat health­ier face a pow­er­ful foe: cost.

One of the find­ings in a study in Au­gust’s Health Af­fairs seems a bit ob­vi­ous: Peo­ple pre­fer the taste of fat and sugar-laden foods, such as French fries and cook­ies, to nu­tri­ent-dense whole foods, such as whole grains, fruits and veg­eta­bles. How­ever, they did man­age to put a price tag—an ex­pen­sive one—on the cost of eat­ing healthy.

For ex­am­ple, the study’s au­thors found that get­ting the gov­ern­ment-rec­om­mended daily value of potas­sium into the diet of the King County, Wash., adults stud­ied would cost a whop­ping $ 380 a year, as­sum­ing di­etary habits don’t change.

The au­thors rec­om­mend noth­ing less than a whole­sale change to the coun­try’s food pro­duc­tion sys­tem as a so­lu­tion. “The cur­rent sys­tem has proved to be re­mark­ably ef­fec­tive in the pro­vi­sion of calo­ries, but not as good at sup­ply­ing nu­tri­ents,” ac­cord­ing to the study. “More fun­da­men­tally, the sys­tem cur­rently falls short of pro­duc­ing enough veg­eta­bles and fruit to sup­ply Amer­i­cans with even the min­i­mum rec­om­mended num­ber of daily serv­ings of these foods.”

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