COLLEGE STATION, PA – A recent study conducted by WalletHub outlined the most overweight and obese states in America. That study could suggest that eating healthy is related to financial status as buying healthy and fresh foods is often more expensive than buying processed and cheaper quality food.
As a result of the abundance of fast food and cheap unhealthy grocery items that have negatively altered our diets, over 40% of U.S. adults are obese. As a result of the extra pounds, medical treatment related to obesity has cost about $190.2 billion annually, while productivity losses resulting from work absenteeism have cost about $4.3 billion each year.
According to the study, Americans are some of the most overweight people in the world, not just stereotypically but statistically too.
Dr. Travis Masterson, a Professor; Director of the Health, Ingestive Behavior, and Technology Laboratory, The Pennsylvania State University says eating healthy does not necessarily mean you need to spend more money on food.
“Start with simple changes to your purchases at the store. There is no need to purchase large amounts of supplements or expensive products with ‘health halos’ like grass-fed beef, oat milk, etc. I would first start by adding in more fruits and vegetables that you are already familiar with and like,” Dr. Masterson said. “This will ensure that you will actually use them and they will not go to waste. Increase the amount that you use or provide yourself within a meal and reduce the amount of less healthy foods. For example, I have a really simple rice, chicken, and broccoli bowl that I love to eat.”
He said taking things slow and experimenting have helped him personally reduce his calorie intake and introduce healthy options into his diet.
“Over time I have reduced the amount of chicken and rice in the bowl and increased the amount of broccoli. I still get to enjoy the dish as a whole but provide myself with more of the nutrient-rich and low-calorie part of the meal. Looking for low-cost fruits, vegetables, and grains at your grocery store can also be a good way to approach healthy eating,” he said. “Exploring new foods and experimenting with adding them to your diet can be fun and you can start by buying small amounts of them to test so that you do not end up with a lot of food waste or wasted money.”