Why eating healthy is so expensive in America

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Vox

Produce helps your health and hurts your wallet, but some strategies may change that. Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO The American dinner plate is deficient in nutritious produce, and part of the problem is cost. Because diets low in fruits and vegetables have serious consequences, health advocates have tried to incentivizes Americans to choose apples over donuts for years but with little success. In the US, a nation with high rates of diseases such as obesity and diabetes , a variety of strategies - from a junk food tax to a produce prescription program - are now being tested. But there are a number of factors that still stand in the way of Americans having healthier, more affordable produce and dietary options. We asked the experts how to eat healthy on a budget. Here are 11 tips to keep in mind: http://bit.ly/2G0UjeY Vox health correspondent, Julia Belluz, answers more of your everyday health questions: http://bit.ly/2G55Ie0 Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com. Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE Follow Vox on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o Or Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H

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Video Transcript:

With $10 you can buy this many donuts and this many apples if you opt for the donuts you get a lot more calories but not all calories are created equal apples contain fiber and vitamins while donuts are full of saturated fats and chemically processed ingredients even though apples are healthier for you you have to eat more of them to get the same number of calories as one donut and it would cost you about five more dollars Which means the cost-effective choice is usually not the nutritionally sound one there's a strong relationship between diets that are low in fruits and vegetables and obesity and diabetes these two chronic diseases now ranked among the nation's gravest health concerns produce is essential for a healthy diet but Americans aren't eating enough of it and part of the problem is cost so what can be done to add more produce to the American plate fresh fruits and vegetables are often more expensive to farm than other types of crops that end up in processed foods for example fresh strawberries have to be picked by hand but strawberries destined for preserves can be harvested by a machine bumps and bruises don't matter in the process and machines are more efficient and cheaper in the long run than human labor this extra work is reflected in the price difference between fresh strawberries And other crops and it also makes fresh strawberries more expensive to buy than processed strawberries government subsidies also play a role in the cost difference for example the USDA doesn't subsidize leafy vegetable crops in the same way it subsidizes wheat soy and corn these three crops make up a lot of processed food so products full of high fructose corn syrup and soybean oil have an unfair advantage when it comes to cost the last nutritious food will win Out other incentives are needed to keep people away from cheap processed foods taxes on tobacco and alcohol have been effective at curbing consumption this line shows the average price per pack of cigarettes over the past 40 years the rising prices are partly fueled by federal and state cigarette tax increases in 1983 throughout the early 2000s and 2009 meanwhile per-capita cigarette consumption shown by this line has steadily decreased as prices have Gone up and some researchers arguing that we need to start thinking about a junk food tax the tax would focus on non-essential food items like candy soda and potato chips these unhealthy foods would be taxed at the manufacturing level and higher costs at checkout could steer customers toward healthier options but a junk food tax alone won't fix obesity or the already high costs of a healthy diet so what can be done we could make produce sexy okay well there Are other things too to address the cost issue some programs are springing up that make produce more affordable for lower-income people through subsidies and since 2014 the USDA has granted over 65 million dollars to expand these programs throughout the u.s. there is also the fruit and vegetable prescription program or FV rx doctors can give vouchers for produce to low-income patients who are at high risk of diet related disease growing produce In home or community gardens can encourage healthy eating with little investment but finding time to cook let alone garden can be a burden for families we don't yet know which strategies and programs are gonna work best but they're worth testing for one simple reason if Americans ate a wider variety of fruits and vegetables and more fruits and vegetables we know they'd be a whole lot healthier [Music] You [Music]

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