A healthy diet is expensive for welfare-dependent families

January 01, 0001

A healthy diet is expensive for welfare-dependent families

The aim of this study by researchers from Melbourne, Australia was to examine the cost of healthy food habits for welfare-dependent families in Australia. A seven-day meal plan was developed, based on Australian public health recommendations, for two typical welfare-dependent families, a couple-family (two adults, two children) and a one-parent family (one adult, two children). The cost of the meal plan was calculated using market brand and generic brand grocery items, and total cost compared to income.

In Australia, the cost of healthy food habits uses about 40% of the disposable income of welfare-dependent families. Families earning an average income would spend only 20% of their disposable income to buy the same healthy food. Substituting generic brands for market brands reduced the weekly food cost by about 13%. This is one of few economic models to include generic brands.

The authors concluded: “Compared with average-income Australian families, healthy food habits are a fiscal challenge to welfare-dependent families.”

A small study, but making an important point.

For the full abstract, click here.

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health)33(6):566-572, December 2009. © 2009 to the Public Health Association of Australia.
A healthy diet consistent with Australian health recommendations is too expensive for welfare-dependent families. Christine Kettings, Andrew J. Sinclair and Melanie Voevodin. Correspondence to Melanie Voevodin: [email protected]

Category: HSR. Health Services Research, Z. Social Probelms. Keywords: food cost, food security, Australian Dietary Guidelines, low-income family, healthy diet, meal plan costings, observational study
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 20 January 2010

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