• Madisyn Yanesa

If We Are Encouraged To Eat Healthily, Why Can’t We Afford It?

Eating healthy is one of the constant things we are supposed to follow as a

society. Having a balance of all food groups is crucial to having an acceptable diet.

However, not all people have access to these healthy foods. Due to the low income in

some families and individuals, people are not able to afford healthy foods. In most

grocery stores, all junk food is priced lower than healthy foods such as fruits and

vegetables. Since junk food is affordable to most people, they usually buy that over

the healthy food options. To fix this food problem, we need to start advertising

healthy food as a better and cheaper option.

Researchers from Harvard University have found out that having a healthy

diet costs $1.50 more a day as compared to a non-healthier diet. Over time, that

additional $1.50 adds up to an additional $547.50 a year. Some people are not able to

spare that amount of money yearly. In the food industry, a burger from Mcdonalds

costs $1-$3, while a pre-made salad costs an average of $8. The less healthy options

cost approximately $6 cheaper than the salad. Here is an indication of how our food

system isn’t prioritizing the health of its consumers. They are sacrificing the health of

people to gain profit. Their misuse of priorities has resulted in an enormous increase

in health issues such as obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes. In 2017, 75% of people

over the age of 18 were diagnosed with obesity because of their unhealthy diet. The

reason for the underpricing of junk food is because of the ingredients it takes to

produce them. These types of foods are packed with chemicals, meaning that the

production is cheaper than the production of fruits and vegetables.

An alternative reason why people gravitate towards buying junk food is

that, in some areas, there are no grocery stores that sell healthy foods. Accessing

the nearest grocery stores is within a far distance for these people. In less fortunate

areas, people only have access to fast-food chains and dollar stores. Both of these

establishments don’t offer the foods that people need to sustain a healthy diet.

These areas are called food deserts. In Canada, London, Ontario, and Quebec have

7.5% of their population living in food deserts.

How can we resolve this issue for people living in food deserts and the people

who are unable to afford healthy food products? The first resolution is to buy

produce farmed locally. Produce can be more expensive because of import costs.

Buying produce in local areas will make buying produce affordable. A solution to solve the problem of people living in food deserts is to make sure everyone in these types of neighbourhoods have access to a grocery store that sells healthy foods. These

grocery stores should be placed within a ten-kilometre radius to make it easier to

get there. To ensure that everyone has access to the resources needed for a healthy

lifestyle, we need to start with the food we are advertising to them.