The Risks of the Dollar Menu

People who receive lower income are more likely to consume cheaper, processed foods, and have a higher chance of undergoing or receiving obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and other diet-related health problems. Also, low-income families, who disburse a larger percentage of their salary on food, have been greatly impacted by the proliferation of cheap, unhealthy food. However, no matter the amount of income received, everyone should have the right to access healthy food to maintain a good lifestyle.

Funds from the federal government were given to U.S. farms to assist the wide instability of crop prices during the Great Depression. On the other hand, the federal government now spends about $35 billion every year funding crops in a complex system of endowment. Throughout the years, the prices of certain crops, including corn and soy, have decreased due to this contribution of money.

Low-income families, who spend most of their earnings on purchasing foods, have been greatly impacted by the rapid increase in numbers of cheap, but unhealthy foods. Due to their tight budget, the difference in the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods funded by the government forces them to ingest more processed foods than people would normally consume. An unfortunate outcome is that income has become the most accurate predictor of the two conditions linked to diet – Type 2 diabetes and obesity.  As a matter of fact, diet-related chronic diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

Many people believe that food choices are a personal responsibility, where what we eat and buy is a choice; however, others disagree and believe that healthy food choices should be available to everyone and not just to people who can afford it. As I stated before, expensive healthy foods have caused low-income families to resort to purchasing inexpensive unhealthy food and increased the risk of receiving diet-related chronic problems. Because of this, many people have started to question if something should be done about it.

The author, Michael Pollan states in the 2008 New York Times issue, “That’s what we’ve been heavily subsidizing, encouraging farmers to grow more of, and that’s what makes fast food so cheap. Meanwhile over in the produce section, the head of broccoli costs more than a fast-food hamburger. Why is that? We do very little to encourage farmers to grow what are called specialty crops, which is actual food you can eat,” extremely concerned that national policies are subsidizing the least healthful calories that we eat. He also questions, “What if we had a definition of food that said a food is something that doesn’t just have calories but has a certain amount of nutrients and micronutrients?” Farm subsidies have resulted in significantly lowering costs of the food industry and has caused them to be overproduced and more inexpensive than other crops, when the farm subsidy system should be organized differently to provide foods for everyone.

Not being able to eat healthy foods because it cannot be afforded is awfully unjust. Everyone should have the privilege to access food to sustain a good lifestyle.

~Rebecca Chang


  1. “How U.S. Agricultural Subsidies Harm the Environment, Taxpayers and The Poor.” National Center for Policy Analysis. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.
  2. “Oz, Daphne. “Why Are Processed Foods Cheaper than Fresh Foods? – Eating and Society.” Sharecare. N.p., n.d. Web.
  3. Schlosser, Eric. “Access to Good, Healthy Food Should Be a Basic Human Right.” The Atlantic.    Atlantic Media Company, 22 Feb. 2012. Web.

Picture Credit: https://www.google.com/search?q=healthy+food&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiy6O-P7szTAhWGRyYKHUkMB1wQ_AUIBigB&biw=1256&bih=699#imgrc=OZD13MYHUSNaaM:

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s