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Can Being Lower-Income Lead to Better Health?

June 24, 2016
Plain English Version
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Lower-income families have to make food choices. Sometimes they eat a lot of white rice and potatoes. Lowest-cost foods often are not the healthiest foods. Starches are not the best food for diabetics.

Such families may turn to food banks for help. It may be the smartest move they can make. A diabetic’s blood-sugar level was sky-high when she went to her local food bank. She found fresh yellow tomatoes, butter lettuce and diced cactus. These foods are good for her.

About one-third of the households using food banks has a household member with diabetes. They consume out of every $10 the nation spends on health care. The spending is for the treatment of diabetes and related illnesses. Diabetics need steady access to good food. People who can get good food may try to live a healthy life.

Many American families are “food insecure.” Sometime during a month they may have to go to a food bank or pantry. They are out of food for short periods of time. Food insecurity is a cause of diabetes.

Cheap food is often low in fiber and high in carbohydrates. Such foods are one cause of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Lower-income people end up in hospitals with low blood sugar levels. This happens to them more often than it does to people with higher incomes. It often happens at the end of the month when they run out of money for food.

Food pantries are trying to be places where people can follow healthy food habits. Research shows there is a clear link between good food and better health. Food is medicine.

Still, people are people. One man picked good food one day. The next day he chose chocolate chip cookies and M&M cookies. He said, “I know what I am supposed to eat and not supposed to eat. But I still eat what I want.”

Source: The New York Times June 17, 2016

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