With the dimensions of food convenience and availability, the access to refined and process items has increased. Foods and beverages that include high amounts of sugar, cholesterol, and sodium have become readily available to the community increasing the surplus of unhealthy foods. As these foods are easy to access and cheap, it draws the consumer's eyes in and allows the food industry to profit; however, though these products can be enticing, the outcome of health illnesses and lifestyle worsens.
As the access to "fast foods" become more prevalent, it is easier to fall into the trap of unhealthy eating. Whether it be the cost, the taste, or the time, one characteristic always draws you in; however, as these foods can be quick and easy, they are also dangerous. Processed and refined foods, containing chemicals such as BPA, coumarin, and trans fats, not only lack some nutrients, but also offer the chance for ingestion of them.These chemicals can lead to the development of diseases and illnesses such as cancers, PCOS and heart disease. As these diseases plague our nation, another issue stands: obesity.
As 1.9 billion people in the world are obese, healthful eating and access to it become more important. With the importance of a balanced, healthful diet, the question of access becomes one of speculation. What leads to obesity? Does the price of healthful produce affect obesity rates? How can change better obesity and the quality of life? All of the questions are important ones to think on as we ponder on how to "solve" this issue. As solving the issue should be of the utmost importance, quantitative sources such as price can be observed.
Money is a factor that affects diet. As organic and less processed foods can cost more, it can cause monetary stress to families; however, according to a study done by the Harvard School of Public Health, eating an organic or healthy diet costs, on average, $1.50 more than an unhealthy one. As $1.50 isn't a huge difference, most assume an extremely higher price than what is at hand; however, as this means an increase in food costs for $550 per year, this could weigh a burden on some families.
As food prices can burden families, this raises the question of pricing. Pricing is effective on a supply-demand basis. For demand, as price increases, quantity decreases. Consequently, for supply, as price rises, quantity rises as well. With this concept, it is inferred that prices can change depending on the need and amount of resources available. The concept of the changing of prices affecting the sale of products is called price elasticity. For example, as the prices continue to rise on organic produce, consumers purchase less of it. In retrospect, as fast food prices stagnate or lower, more consumer purchase those products. it is interesting, as many in power have claimed to make the country "healthier", that the prices are placed in that manner. It is almost as if healthy food is a luxury, one that must only be had by those with the resources. This, more or less, makes it important for prices to be more accessible to everyone, regardless of economic class. This, in turn with exercise, could lower the obesity epidemic and lead to healthier living.
However, as for now, the most we can do is to take control of what we can. If it means spending the few dollars you have on healthful produce rather than processed foods, it could add great change to your life. It may be difficult at first, to take out that extra cup of espresso or that burger, but it is possible with time and effort.