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Nutr Rev. 2015 Oct;73(10):643-60. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv027. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

Contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic disparities in diet quality and health: a systematic review and analysis.

Author information

1
N. Darmon is with the Unité Mixte de Recherche "Nutrition, Obesity and Risk of Thrombosis," Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique 1260, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale 1062, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France. A. Drewnowski is with the Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA. nicole.darmon@univ-amu.fr.
2
N. Darmon is with the Unité Mixte de Recherche "Nutrition, Obesity and Risk of Thrombosis," Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique 1260, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale 1062, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France. A. Drewnowski is with the Center for Public Health Nutrition, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

It is well established in the literature that healthier diets cost more than unhealthy diets.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this review was to examine the contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic inequalities in diet quality.

DATA SOURCES:

A systematic literature search of the PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science databases was performed.

STUDY SELECTION:

Publications linking food prices, dietary quality, and socioeconomic status were selected.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Where possible, review conclusions were illustrated using a French national database of commonly consumed foods and their mean retail prices.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Foods of lower nutritional value and lower-quality diets generally cost less per calorie and tended to be selected by groups of lower socioeconomic status. A number of nutrient-dense foods were available at low cost but were not always palatable or culturally acceptable to the low-income consumer. Acceptable healthier diets were uniformly associated with higher costs. Food budgets in poverty were insufficient to ensure optimum diets.

CONCLUSIONS:

Socioeconomic disparities in diet quality may be explained by the higher cost of healthy diets. Identifying food patterns that are nutrient rich, affordable, and appealing should be a priority to fight social inequalities in nutrition and health.

KEYWORDS:

diet cost; energy density; food prices; nutrient density; nutrition economics; socioeconomic status

PMID:
26307238
PMCID:
PMC4586446
DOI:
10.1093/nutrit/nuv027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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