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Researchers: Obesity Rises Along With Food Costs

December 13, 2013

Originally published Aug. 22, 2011

According to a new survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket, the total average price for 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals is up $10.66 since 2005, a staggering 26 percent jump.

Take eggs for example. Now priced at $1.65 a dozen, eggs were only 96 cents in 2005. And milk is up 52 cents to $3.10. The cumulative effect is alarming.

Consider lower income consumers who spend a larger share of their income on food. Now consider their children. 

Research has shown that children living in areas with increased fruit and vegetable prices had an increased body mass index (BMI) from kindergarten to the third grade when compared with children living in areas with lower food prices.

Lower income families are sounding a silent alarm.

“I would be short on my bills… or I may have to do without cable for a month ‘cause I have to buy food for my two children,” said Melissa Patterson, mother of two toddlers. 

PHWEEK caught up with Patterson at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta as she met counselors with the Supplemental Nutrition Foods Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). Patterson is hopeful WIC will help her family avoid the statistics.

“I can go to the grocery stores and convenient stores where WIC is accepted knowing that I can buy what we need for any meal,” said Patterson. “When my kids can eat, I am happy as a mom.” 

She joins the over 320,000 WIC participants statewide who can rely on the supplemental food and nutrition program to help when food prices are too high and moms want to make sure their children are eating foods that will make them healthy year round.