Could The Recession Be Making More Americans Fat? Is it possible to eat healthy on a budget?

BlogHer Original Post

There seems to be evidence that the poor economy is taking its toll on American families and their ability to make healthy food choices. For some it may be that stress is contributing to an increase in emotional eating, and for others it may be the cost of eating healthy. For what ever reason, the recession appears to be having a negative affect on obesity in America. And since there is no sign of economic recovery in the near future, we need to all find ways to get ourselves (and our families) through these hard times without forfeiting our health.

Back in October I wrote a post on saving money while still eating healthy, and now more than ever, I think we need to take another look at how we can do that.

Today Newsweek had an article about how the recession is contributing to an increase of overweight Americans.

Is The Recession Making Americans Fatter?

Could the plummeting economy be contributing to expanding waistlines? Something is: new data released exclusively to NEWSWEEK from Gallup-Healthways shows that in the past year, the number of Americans considered obese has jumped by 1.7 percent—or almost 5.5 million people—and that the obese report a much lower quality of life than those who are at healthier weights.

. . .

The stress of worrying about keeping or finding a job, paying bills and keeping a stable home does take a negative toll on one's health, including weight. "There's a clear link between stress and weight gain," says Leslie Heinberg, director of behavioral services for the Bariatric and Metabolic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. "People may be more likely to eat comfort foods or eat things that are higher in fat and calories," she explains. And, this kind of weight gain can be especially unhealthy: "There's good evidence that stress hormones may play important role in holding onto fat, especially the much more deleterious visceral fat." And a tight budget doesn't just mean stress eating, it also means we're more likely to choose foods that are cheaper, which are typically foods that are higher in fat and calories.

Let's take a look at what other women are blogging about eating healthy on a budget.

From Natures Mom Blog - Organic Healthy Foods on a Budget...

Yes, the conundrum that most families into natural health and wellness will face. On one hand we have the argument that organic, healthier foods cost more and therefore cannot be justified when we have a modest budget. There is some truth to this no doubt. Organic cow’s milk might cost you $4.99 for a half gallon at the grocery store. The non-organic milk sits right next to it at $2.79 per whole gallon. The raw organic almonds I buy at $12.99 a pound to make breakfast bars with seems extravagant when I could buy Pop Tarts for a couple dollars a box right? Why go buy $15 worth of ingredients at the store to make a good dinner when we can shop the $1 menu at McDonalds?

But then the counter argument is that unhealthy foods and non organic foods will cost us more in the long run. Why? Because food is our medicine. An unhealthy diet will eventually lead to health problems, doctor visits, unpaid sick days, hospitalizations, pharma prescriptions, etc.

From Gluten Free Mommy - A Frugal Healthy Grocery Budget...

Prices just keep going up at the grocery store! I thought it would be a good time to reflect on eating healthy and frugally, since sometimes it seems that the two are mutually exclusive. When you add on other dietary requirements or preferences like eating gluten free or shopping locally, it can seem downright impossible. I was raised that healthy eating is a priority and worth the expense, but there are ways to be frugal and eat healthy too. For those of us who are gluten-free, we know first-hand that what you put in your body matters! Consider healthy eating to be an investment in your future health.

From This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - The Pasta Queen Eating Healthy on a Budget...

Now that our economy has entered a recession, some experts hypothesize that we may pack on recession pounds as people turn to cheaper, processed foods high in empty carbohydrates. There is no doubt people are looking for ways to make their money go farther, but that doesn't mean they can only eat off the dollar menu. Here are some tips on how to live healthy without living in a cardboard box.

From $5 Dinners - Losing Weight on a Budget...

I hear so many people say, “Eating healthy is so expensive. How do you stay on a budget?” Last year, I lost 35 pounds by eating healthy foods and staying on budget. So, eating healthy is possible if you want to lose weight and not break the bank!

Planning is key to so many things and it certainly important with weight loss! Planning makes it easier to spend less when you’re trying to eat healthier.

From The Skinny Gourmet - Budget Friendly Meals That Are Nutritious and Delicious...

The quest to economize in the modern American home often focuses around food. And rightly so. According to the 2007 Consumer Expenditure Survey, moderate income Americans spend somewhere between 31 and 37% of their total food expenditures on eating outside the home. Americans earning fourty-thousand dollars or more per year spend about 42 percent of their food budget on eating out, while the wealthiest income bracket spend nearly half their budget on dining outside the home. The very poorest Americans, whose annual income was $5,000 or less spent a whopping 41 percent of their income eating out.

But now that the economy is putting the squeeze on our plates, many of us find ourselves in quite the bind: how can we make food that is nutritious, tasty, and won't break our increasingly thin wallets? And by the way, if it isn't asking too much, wouldn't it be nice if those food solutions also didn't require hours and hours of preparation time, because although we have less cash, we are still really busy folks.

Are you finding it harder to eat healthy in this poor economy? Are you surprised that the recession is causing an increase in obesity? Do you think it is possible to eat healthy on a tight budget? Do you have any tips you can share about how you and your family are eating healthy on a budget?

Also See:

Tips For Eating Green and Why You Should

Check out the BlogHer Healthy Eating tag for more women blogging on eating healthy.

Nordette's post on Ten Things I Won't Cut From My Families Budget

From Dr. Mommy - Healthy Eating On A Budget

Is It Possible To Eat Healthy on a Budget?

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
at and Women4Hope 


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