By: Janet Hunt
It is a sad state of affairs in our country that it costs less to eat junk food than a healthy meal. Processed food consumption is a vicious cycle; as we eat more and more of these items, their production costs decrease, making them cheaper and more readily available.

However, rising healthcare costs, along with our growing rates of preventable diseases, show the true price of eating junk food and processed foods rather than a healthy diet. While you may think it costs more up front to eat whole foods, the long-term savings on medical care that you and our country would see make the initial spending well worth it.

Health care in the United States is the most expensive of any country in the world. We spend 15.9 percent of our gross domestic product (GDP) on it. According to 2012 statistics, approximately 75 percent of the 2.2 trillion dollars we spend on health care goes towards the treatment of chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers, that are often preventable by diet and lifestyle changes..

The American Diabetes Association estimates that costs related to diabetes alone set the U.S. budget back over 174 billion dollars per year, while obesity treatment expenses total 147 billion dollars per year. Even though we spend so much on healthcare, heart disease is the leading cause of death, and two-thirds of our children and adults are overweight or obese.

Too much of our diet today involves processed and refined foods, and we’re paying the price in our high obesity and chronic disease levels, as well as in rising healthcare costs. When foods are processed, chemicals are used, important nutrients are removed, and sweeteners are added. This tricks your body’s ability to regulate how much we eat and makes us want to eat more.

The simple and obvious fix to this crisis is clear: we must all make an effort to avoid processed foods, and instead choose natural ingredients for healthy, unprocessed meals. You might begin by planning a small garden. If you do not have a yard, you can do some container planting. In a couple of months, shop at local farmers’ markets.

For more information on healthy lifestyles, contact Janet at 256-614-3530 or
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.

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