Some weeks back, my friend Dan of Casual Kitchen invited me to participate in another edition of his wonderful Blogging Roundtable ... and this time the topic threw me for a loop. Dan posed this provocative question to five of his fellow bloggers:
"America's poor have an obesity problem because healthy food costs more than unhealthy food. Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why?"
Honestly, I was stumped ... on a number of levels. I had a really hard time trying to codify my thoughts on the topic. I'm no expert on poverty, obesity or economics; these are not subjects about which I have any factual knowledge. And, to be really, really honest ... I'm not very good about looking at price tags either. Just ask Mama Diva, I was born this way. And then it hit me: blogger, read thyself! I'm "The Diva on a Diet" ... duh! I do know a little something about weight issues, after all.
And what I know is that I'm fat on a diet of healthy, high-quality food. So my initial response was to disagree with the statement, based purely on my own experience and circumstances. Before answering, though, I decided to do a little math. I know ... terrifying, huh?!
Having recently paid a staggering $4.99 for one single, organic, red bell pepper at my market, I do agree that the cost of quality food is out of control. Certainly, the rising cost of such food has to be a factor in our growing obesity problem, but is cost the only factor? Does an apple cost more than a Twinkie? The answer may surprise you.
A quick search revealed the following: I priced out a box of Twinkies on Peapod.com, Stop and Shop's online store. They were on special that week, $3.00 for a box of 10, for a final cost of $0.30 per Twinkie. Empire apples were also on special that week, a 3 lb. bag for $2.50. There are roughly 3 apples per pound, so I'm figuring a total of 9 apples in that $2.50 bag, for a final cost of slightly less than $0.28 per apple. Who knew that apples and Twinkies were nearly the same price? I sure didn't. (Perhaps because I don't buy Twinkies! But, I digress.)
My point? Yes, I can do some basic math! ~ahem~ No, that's not really my point. My point is that although we absolutely must address the rising cost of food in this country, we also need to hold ourselves accountable for our choices ... and maybe even do a little math from time to time. Obesity is a complex issue; genetics, life-style choices, income and economics all factor into it. Its a provocative subject to say the least and I congratulate Dan and the rest of the Blogging Roundtable for taking it on.
You can read the rest of my response, as well as those of the other participants on Casual Kitchen today. As expected, the answers are candid, well-considered and very impressive. Once again, I'm honored to find myself in such esteemed company and I'm immensely grateful to Dan for giving us the opportunity to sound off on the topic. Please click over to Casual Kitchen and add your own thoughts to the discussion.
So, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Inquiring bloggers want to know!