Putting Income Inequality on the Table

| 9/4/2014 12:14:00 PM

food desert

A new study shows how the food gap is widening—and what can be done.

How does income inequality translate to the food that ends up on our dinner tables? For those on low-income budgets, the results look pretty disheartening according to a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers found that the food gap is widening and that costs and access associated with healthier foods were the primary barriers. Such constraints lead to disproportionate health problems—those with lower incomes and educational levels statistically have higher rates of obesity. Frank Hu, one of the study’s co-authors said that the growing disparity is “disturbing.” And while food and diet education play an important role, most people generally know what is healthy, but not all are able to afford the better options.

The researchers utilized a scale called the Alternate Healthy Eating Index 2010 which has 11 factors that measure the quality of our diets. On the whole, the U.S. scored 46.8 out of 110. While improvements were seen in the reduction of trans fat and sugary drinks, red meat intake hasn’t decreased and vegetable intake hasn’t increased.

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