The Food-Healthcare Connection

Here’s something to think about.

In 1960 the average household spent 17.5 percent of their income on food, while 5.2 percent of their income went to healthcare.

Fast forward nearly 50 years to 2008…

Last year the average household spent 9.9 percent of their income on food and 16 percent of income on healthcare.

Going by this, the average U.S. household is spending half as much on food and three times as much on healthcare as we did 50 years ago. True, part of the increase in healthcare spending can be attributed to advances in medicine, etc., but looking at the increase in diet-related disease along with changes in eating habits (e.g. the rise of the fast food chain), the lines are drawn. As our spending on food has decreased, the amount of money going to healthcare has increased.

After months of debating the complicated healthcare crisis, when you look at this little statistic, things look a lot simpler.

What if Americans spent a little more on food? What if we put more value on the quality versus quantity? What if we invested in heath education programs? What if the focus shifted to prevention? What if government spending on healthcare went to subsidizing broccoli instead of insurance companies? What if the role of food in our country became a topic in the healthcare debate? I think it should be.

It’s something to think about … and a little fodder for the debate you’ll be having with someone in your family over the holidays.

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