A recent article claims that poverty and not people’s food choices is the cause of the obesity epedemic in the UK (and presumably in other countries as well). It cites various statistics linking obesity and poverty but, as we all know, there are lies, damn lies and……
Leaving aside other social factors and focusing purely on the economic: Are unhealthy processed foods cheaper than the wholesome, natural alternatives?
Let’s assume a family of 4 decides to pick up dinner from MacDonalds; known for their ‘from 99p’ adverts. Mum and Dad will probably have a burger and fries each, the kids will have a happy meal and maybe an ice-cream for desert, sound reasonable?
2 Big Mac meduim value meals: £4.69 x 2 = £9.38
2 Chicken McNugget happy meals: £2.79 x 2 = £5.58
2 Mcflurries: 2 x £0.99 = £1.98
Total = £16.94 [Source]
If we take that cash down to the local supermarket instead what will it buy us?
For £4.50 you can buy a whole chicken
Add some potatoes for £1.50
Another £3 will easily buy enough vegetables for this meal and probably another as well.
That’s a roast dinner for 4 people for a little more than half the price of dinner from MacDonalds. Not only that but the calorie and sugar content of the meal will be significantly lower and the nutritional content a lot higher!
Even if you buy a ready meal for everyone, the cost will still be higher than buying the fresh, natural ingredients and preparing and cooking them yourself.
I can believe, to an extent, that those who live in poorer areas are more liable to be obese but I don’t think it’s for economic reasons; it’s far more likely to be a lack of education in the importance of nutrition and exercise. Also that, as we know, the sugar that appears in virtually all fast foods and ready meals is highly addictive and the greater the consumption, the greater the craving……..