Income inequality isn’t the only gap the U.S. needs to mind these days; the country is amassing a sad and expensive discrepancy between what its poor and rich eat.
The Alternate Healthy Eating Index, which incorporates the latest scientific evidence on the relationship between diet and health and assigns values to certain foods based on their relative nutritional value (sugar-sweetened juices, for instance, have a lower rating than vegetables).
Part of that divide is likely price-driven. Health foods, while growing in popularity (and fast), can be expensive, and, in turn, inaccessible to poorer people not just in America, but anywhere. “Price is a major determinant of food choice, and healthful foods generally cost more than unhealthful foods in the United States,” the study said. A significant portion of the U.S. population, after all, has enough trouble feeding itself any food, let alone fancy food—some 15 percent of the U.S. population and 17 percent of U.S. households were food “insecure” as of 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which means that they occasionally run out of money for food, or food entirely.
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