-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Feb. 28, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- High prices for fresh
fruits and vegetables increase the risk that children in low- and
middle-income families will be overweight, according to a new
That's because when the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables
rise, families with less money may purchase them less often and buy
cheaper foods that have more calories and are less healthy, lead
author Taryn Morrissey, an assistant professor of public
administration and policy at American University's School of Public
Affairs, said in a university news release.
The researchers analyzed national data collected on American
children from infancy to age 5 and compared it to food price data.
They concentrated on families under 300 percent of the federal
poverty line. In 2013, that would be a family of four with an
income of $70,650.
Fruit and vegetable prices rose 17 percent between 1997 and 2003
alone, according to the study. It found that youngsters in areas
with higher fruit and vegetable prices had higher average body-mass
index (BMI) scores than those in areas with lower-cost fruits and
BMI is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight.
"These associations are driven by changes in the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables rather than frozen or canned," Alison Jacknowitz, a study co-author and associate professor of public administration at the AU School of Public Affairs, noted in the news release.
On the other hand, the researchers also found that higher fast
food prices were associated with obesity in children. This could be
because fast food chains may be more likely than grocery stores to
boost their prices in response to greater demand for their
products, Morrissey said.
She and her colleagues also discovered that higher costs for
soft drinks may reduce the risk of obesity among young children,
according to the study published online recently in the journal
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more about
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