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IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1255: Cost and Affordability of Diets Modelled on Current Eating Patterns and on Dietary Guidelines, for New Zealand Total Population, Māori and Pacific Households

13 Jun 2018

IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1255: Cost and Affordability of Diets Modelled on Current Eating Patterns and on Dietary Guidelines, for New Zealand Total Population, Māori and Pacific Households

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061255

Authors:
Sally Mackay
Tina Buch
Stefanie Vandevijvere
Rawinia Goodwin
Erina Korohina
Mafi Funaki-Tahifote
Amanda Lee
Boyd Swinburn

The affordability of diets modelled on the current (less healthy) diet compared to a healthy diet based on Dietary Guidelines was calculated for population groups in New Zealand. Diets using common foods were developed for a household of four for the total population, Māori and Pacific groups. Māori and Pacific nutrition expert panels ensured the diets were appropriate. Each current (less healthy) diet was based on eating patterns identified from national nutrition surveys. Food prices were collected from retail outlets. Only the current diets contained alcohol, takeaways and discretionary foods. The modelled healthy diet was cheaper than the current diet for the total population (3.5% difference) and Pacific households (4.5% difference) and similar in cost for Māori households (0.57% difference). When the diets were equivalent in energy, the healthy diet was more expensive than the current diet for all population groups (by 8.5% to 15.6%). For households on the minimum wage, the diets required 27% to 34% of household income, and if receiving income support, required 41–52% of household income. Expert panels were invaluable in guiding the process for specific populations. Both the modelled healthy and current diets are unaffordable for some households as a considerable portion of income was required to purchase either diet. Policies are required to improve food security by lowering the cost of healthy food or improving household income.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health