Food Inequality is Becoming a Serious Issue
When you hear the word inequality being used in the news today, it is usually comparing, or pointing out a disparity in the seeming rights and privileges of different demographics. Food inequality refers to the fact that those of a higher socioeconomic class are able to eat better quality food than those of lower classes. In simple terms, the rich are able to eat better than the poor. While this is not really a new thing, long term studies have been concluded and reports released to depict just how severe the gap in food quality has become over the last decade in America. What is more disturbing, as far as health is concerned, is that even if people from the different classes eat with similar guidelines that include the use of fresh produce and healthy grains, the person in the higher class of wealth will have access to healthier, more nutritious varieties.
The issue is not just about the affordability of healthier foods, it is about having access to higher quality foods. Mass produced produce is often grown with a focus on quantity, not quality, which means less nutritious food. Smaller crops of produce, grown with organic methods that focus on nutritious produce and healthy soil tends to be more expensive, and not as widely available. In the typical grocery store, the organically, or naturally grown produce tends to be three times as expensive as the “regular” produce. For people on public food assistance, the family of four will only have a food budget of around $500 (US) per month. This means that when you break it down, it is 12 servings per day (3 meals x 4 people), and 360 servings per month. Breaking it down further, each meal cannot cost more than around $5 ($1.38 per serving). When you are looking at such narrow margins, it is sadly easy to see how difficult purchasing healthier food can be.
Increasing Rates of Vitamin Deficiency
Due to the lack of funds, or even access to quality food, it is little surprising that the increase in vitamin deficiency has been rising at a rate that is comparable to the socioeconomic gap between classes. The resulting loss in nutrition has also lead to an increase in chronic conditions that require supplemental treatment, or that worsen the impact other diseases. Anemia in particular is one that has seen an increase in incidence globally, yet most cases could have been prevented with proper nutrition.
The nutrients that are most impacted by poor quality produce include: iron, protein, Vitamins C, most B vitamins, including folic acid, potassium, calcium, and phytonutrients that can have serious health benefits for humans. The short of the long is that even when people in a lower socioeconomic class attempts to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fresh produce from the grocery store, they are still being cheated out of all the nutrients they could be getting from higher quality food.
What Can Be Done to Close The Gap?
That seems to be the biggest question that researchers, politicians, citizens, and doctors are asking. Unfortunately, there are no simple answers. There are many factors to consider that cannot be addressed with a single solution. Some have suggested limiting food assistance to only cover foods deemed healthy, which sounds like a reasonable first step, but cannot be simply done. The millions of food products being sold from thousands of companies cannot be brought into unilateral categorization in a way that all stores that currently participate in the food assistance program could process. Simply put, there are just too many different product codes, labels, and checkout systems to try and get on the same page to implement such a change in any amount of reasonable time.
The real problem lies within the distribution of wealth throughout the country, the availability of jobs that pay enough for employees and their families to live on, and the long standing backroom contracts that encourage farms to mass produce lower quality food. These problems cannot be simply addressed due to politics and practicality. In the meantime, the populace will continue to see increases in vitamin deficiencies and chronic ailments that could be avoided through proper nutrition. The only way to address the problem is on an individual basis. There are things individuals can do to help prevent nutrition loss due to lower quality food.
How Supplements Help
Something as simple as a daily supplement can go a long way in correcting and preventing nutritional deficiencies. Although, it cannot just be any type of supplement. The best and most efficient nutritional supplement must have a high bio availability, be gentle on the digestive system, and be convenient to take. Studies have shown that most people who attempt to take regular nutritional supplements tend to quit taking them because the pills were either to large, required too many doses, or if it was a liquid supplement, the taste was discouraging.
The price of a supplement is also something to consider as an aspect of convenience. Not all high priced supplements are high quality, and not all low priced supplements should be discounted as having a poor quality. When searching for a complete nutritional supplement, it is important to do a bit of research and evaluate how the supplement is made and what the credibility of the manufacturer is. There are many complete supplements that are available at prices that even people in the lower socioeconomic classes can easily afford. A nutrient dense supplement is the easiest solution that people can take to counteract the mess that politicians continue to squabble over. Aside from growing your own food, a good supplement is the next best thing for supporting your health.