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Contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic disparities in diet quality and health: a systematic review and analysis

Abstract : Context: It is well established in the literature that healthier diets cost more than unhealthy diets. Objective: The aim of this review was to examine the contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic inequalities in diet quality. Data Sources: A systematic literature search of the PubMed, Google Scholar, and Web of Science databases was performed. Study Selection: Publications linking food prices, dietary quality, and socioeconomic status were selected. Data Extraction: Where possible, review conclusions were illustrated using a French national database of commonly consumed foods and their mean retail prices. Data Synthesis: Foods of lower nutritional value and lower-quality diets generally cost less per calorie and tended to be selected by groups of lower socioeconomic status. A number of nutrient-dense foods were available at low cost but were not always palatable or culturally acceptable to the low-income consumer. Acceptable healthier diets were uniformly associated with higher costs. Food budgets in poverty were insufficient to ensure optimum diets. Conclusions: Socioeconomic disparities in diet quality may be explained by the higher cost of healthy diets. Identifying food patterns that are nutrient rich, affordable, and appealing should be a priority to fight social inequalities in nutrition and health.
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Nicole Darmon, Adam Drewnowski. Contribution of food prices and diet cost to socioeconomic disparities in diet quality and health: a systematic review and analysis. Nutrition Reviews, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015, 73 (10), pp.643-660. ⟨10.1093/nutrit/nuv027⟩. ⟨hal-01774670⟩

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