Hidden Health Costs

New study finds that fast food chains aren’t the only reason U.S. children are getting fat. The rising price of fruits and vegetables is also to blame.

By Tracie McMillan

City Limits • Oct. 11, 2005

High rates of childhood obesity may have a stealth culprit: rising prices. A new study from the Rand Health Corporation, a nonprofit policy group, found a strong correlation between childhood weight gain and higher prices for fruits and vegetables. In fact, the study found higher prices to be a much stronger predictor for obesity than other structural forces, such as a heavy presence of fast-food establishments or a lack of supermarkets. It’s particularly salient information for New York, which ranks as one of the most expensive places to buy food in America. The cost of buying “just enough” food for a family in Gotham is 21 percent higher than the national average, according to a recent report from the Food Research and Action Center.

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