High-calorie foods tend to cost less than lower-calorie items and are less likely to increase in price due to inflation ? a possible explanation for why the highest rates of obesity are seen among people in lower-income groups, according to researchers at the University of Washington.
High-calorie foods provide the most calories at the least cost, the researchers found in a survey of more than 370 food items at three Seattle-area supermarket chains. The lowest calorie-dense foods include fresh fruit and vegetables, while foods highest in calories include candy, pastries and other baked goods and snacks. The survey found low-calorie foods increased in price by 19.5 percent over a two-year period, while high-calorie items dropped in price by 1.8 percent.
“The findings that energy-dense foods are not only the least expensive but also most resistant to inflation may help explain why the highest rates of obesity continue to be observed among groups of limited economic means,” according to the researchers.
The researchers conclude: “The sharp price increase observed for vegetables and fruit relative to fats and sweets suggest that the ability to adopt more-healthful diets may be limited by economic constraints.”
Source: American Dietetic Association, USA