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penny-wise, pound-foolish

There seems to be a lot of angst over the financial cost of maintaining a diet full of fresh foods. Some clients may push back on your advice to shop more selectively for healthy items by telling you about budget constraints. That certainly is legitimate and hard to argue with. Try taking these research-based facts and making your case again.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that the healthiest female eaters spent 24% more on groceries—but had lower rates of angina, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. So, yes, it is more expensive to eat well, but it’s clearly better for one’s health profile. Ask clients to think hard about that trade-off.

Here’s the real kicker: a recent analysis of previous studies that looked at the economic impact of obesity found the hit to the annual pocketbook to be $4,879 per year for obese women and $2,646 for obese men, both losses attributable to extra costs and lost income. The stakes were raised even higher when the dollar value for lost years of life was added ($8,365 for women and $6,518 for men). The impact of being overweight was significantly less ($524 for women and $432 for men), but still a good sum. George Washington University researchers attributed the increased costs to higher medical bills, sick days, lost productivity and wage differences.

Again, ask clients to think about whether they want to invest in their health by buying fresh, healthy foods now or if they want to pay for it in more serious terms later.

To give clients some great strategies for shopping well on fixed costs, share this article with them: “Eating Well on a Budget” by IDEA expert Jennie McCary, MS, RD, LD, www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/eating-well-on-a-budget.

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Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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