29 Jan More Money Spent On Food Linked To Healthier Diet
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Helmut Schröder, Ph.D.
Head Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Nutrition Research Group,
CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health
Senior Research Scientist
Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group (CARIN-ULEC)
IMIM-Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute
Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Schröder: A healthy diet is paramount for physical and mental health. Healthy dietary patterns are more expensive than unhealthy choices. But it is unknown how increases in individual diet cost, driven by rising food prices, affects consumers’ food choices and, consequently, overall diet quality. It is of particular concern that low diet quality is more often found in segments of the population with the lowest socioeconomic status. The he aim of our research was to determine the prospective association between changes in individual diet cost and changes in diet quality in the REGICOR (Registre Gironí del Cor) cohort, a representative Spanish population. Additionally, we determined the impact of changes in diet cost on body weight.
We have found that an increase in the energy-adjusted diet cost predicted a shift to a healthier diet and to better weight management. Diet quality strongly increased if money previously spent on unhealthy food choices such as fast food and pastry is instead spent on vegetables and fruits. Furthermore, we have seen that a 1.4€ increase in average spending on food is associated with the consumption of 74 grams more vegetables and 52 grams more fruit, per person per day, for a 1000 kcal diet. Conversely, a reduction of 0.06€ in average spending is linked to a decrease of 121 grams of vegetables and 94 grams of fruit, as well as increased consumption of foodstuffs like fast food and baked goods.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Schröder: Future research should focus on the association between diet cost and health outcomes and if these associations are mediated by diet quality and/or socioeconomic status. Additionally, different diet cost calculations should be taken into account.
Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Dr. Schröder: : Spain has experienced one of the highest unemployment rates in Europe since the economic crisis began in 2008 and currently has one of the highest poverty rates in the region, especially in households with children; furthermore, it is one of the leading OECD countries in economic inequality.
Therefore, our finding is of importance for health policy because it underlines the need to promote healthy diets that are accessible for all income levels, with implications for food pricing, agricultural and consumer subsidy programs, and tax policies
Helmut Schröder, Luis Serra-Majem, Isaac Subirana, Maria Izquierdo-Pulido, Montserrat Fitó, Roberto Elosua. Association of increased monetary cost of dietary intake, diet quality and weight management in Spanish adults. British Journal of Nutrition, 2016; 1 DOI:10.1017/S0007114515005048
Dr. Helmut Schröder (2016). More Money Spent On Food Linked To Healthier Diet