Price rises hitting diet of Manningham's poor
RISING produce prices are affecting the diet and health of Manningham’s low-income earners, local GPs and welfare workers say.
Manningham General Practice’s Dr Amitabh Ilango said he had already seen subtle signs of poor diets among patients in response to rising fruit and vegetable prices.
Dr Ilango said there was “no doubt” cases of malnutrition would increase if prices continued to rise. The Templestowe GP said in an effort to record the effect of tight budgets on his patients’ health, he had started asking them whether they were making healthy food cutbacks.
He said elderly people and children were most at risk.
“With commodity prices going up, there is no doubt that some patients are choosing what they should eat based upon the cost rather than health benefits,” Dr Ilango said.
“If the elderly and young children in their growing years are going to be deprived of adequate amounts of fruit and fibre, that will definitely impact upon their health.”
Market and industry research company IIBISWorld has predicted the recent floods and cyclones would have a significant impact on Australia’s agricultural sector this year.
With flood-affected Queensland and Victoria supplying 54 per cent of the nation’s fruit and vegetables, big wholesale prices rises were expected.
However, the extent of the price rises at the checkout will depend on supermarkets’ willingness to absorb the costs and accept blemished produce.
Manningham Community Health dietitian Carrie Wong said neglecting fresh food made people more susceptible to infections and made it harder to recover when sick.
Ms Wong said some of the community health service’s clients had turned to fast food as prices at the supermarket went up.
“They think fast food is actually cheaper,” Ms Wong said.
Feb 11 Shaun Turton
Some strategies to eat well and save money:
Buy with a friend in bulk.
Be willing to plan your meals and cook.
Be aware that you can get good quality protein from pulses or legumes. To get complete protein from pulses/legumes combine them with rice. Try brown rice to increase the nutrient density of your meal.
Tofu can be a cheap source of protein.
Vegetables prepared lovingly can be comforting, nutritious and filling.
Cheap take away foods can be filling but are high in calories and bad fats and only provide food for one meal.
Our crisis of obesity has been described as a kind of famine.
We consume ‘cheap’ convenience food that doesn’t provide nutrients, and our body thinks that we are starved, and asks for more food.
The result is that we are getting obese but our bodies are depleted of nutrients.
Consider rich in nutrients food, get the most for your money: