Thursday, 11 September 2008

Slimmest town in Cheshire!

This week in my local paper there is an article saying that in our town we have lower rates of obesity than our neighbours. (inexplicably in the online version of the article they have included only the Before photo of Heather, my SW consultant! You shoud see how good she looks these days!) Just 6.6% of patients in our area suffer with obesity apparently. A pretty low figure when you put it in the context of headlines shreiking "Obesity Epidemic!" Since that headline puts nearly 25% of adults in the obesity bracket should we conclude that the obese are a healthy bunch, since such a small number are counted as patients? Or is our town incredibly slim and healthy, way way below the national average? Or is that just an attention grabbing headline with no basis in truth? Hmmmmmm....

My attention was grabbed by this:
A spokeswoman for East Cheshire PCT said: "We would expect to be in one of the lower bands due to the low level of deprivation in the area.

So deprivation is a recognised link to obesity. But is it really true that it's cheaper to eat rubbish? Sometimes when I'm handing over my hard earned for a few bags of fruit and veg it can certainly feel like it! But I decided I needed to be a bit more thorough with my research than that, so I have done a little leg work (finger work since it's all online?)

I have devised 2 meal plans. One healthy, one not so much. I then went with the shopping lists for the 2 plans to My Supermarket and priced up the shopping baskets for both. I assumed some basic store cupboard ingredients and took liberties with assuming not much in the way of cooking from scratch for the unhealthy week cos I'm lazy like that. On the "bad week" I took the cheapest options and on the "good week" I took the lowest calorie (the site software makes this easy!)

Bad week

Meat pie, chips and mushy peas
Pizza and garlic bread
Spaghetti Bolognaise
Egg, bacon, sausage, beans and fried bread
Sticky Sausage and Savoury Rice
Egg, chips and beans
Chippy tea! (I'll allow a tenner for that, but it may be less, I can't remember!)

I've added the ingredients for cereals for breakfast, sandwhiches for lunch, snacks and drinks.

Total spend: £52.99

Good Week

Stir fry Quorn, veg and rice
Spaghetti bolognaise made with Quorn
Vegetarian Chilli
Baked potato & cheesey beans
Eggs, SW chips and beans
Quorn Cottage pie
Meatballs and spaghetti

Additions to basket as above (but healthier!)

Total spend: £43.70

Hmmmm. Not a scientific study but it kind of belies the myth that it costs more to eat healthily don't you think!


Shauna said...

Bloody fab post Wendy! :) One thing I noticed about the healthy basket is that it's vegetarian food. I know I've found my grocery bill has shrunk heaps as beans and lentils are so darn cheap :)

Christine said...

It's not just the money spent that's a symptom of deprivation induced obesity - it's the lack of education (to know which foods are good and which are bad, and even the knowledge of how to cook certain things) and the lack of drive (if you're working 40 + hours a week in a dead end job with no career prospects and kids to feed, or else aren't working at all and have no motivation to change your lot in life for whatever aspect).

There is also an attitude which I've noticed in Ireland and it may be the same in the UK: that eating healthily is considered "snobbish" and that to do so you would think yourself "above" your fellow lower class peers.

Certainly there has to be more work done in terms of public health in both countries amongst the less wealthy.

One to many said...

very interesting to think about! - I feel like my monthly shopping bill for healthy fruit and veg has gone up loads but if I compare it to the fact that I used to by prepackaged sandwiches/crisps/and other junk daily and now I try to take a healthy lunch from home everyday i know im saving in the long run.

Sara Seahorse said...

yes it is the alternatives that overall win

fruit and veg althought getting dearer still better than buying multipacks of choccie bars, cakes, crisps and sweets plus all the ready-made 'easy to shove in oven' stuff I used to buy.

Additional huge savings from meal planning and making effort / getting into habit of cooking from scratch and knowing it is not time consuming. We eat out less and have very few takeaways - I am too picky now

we used to regularly have McD aka evil clown in our house, KFC (yuk would not touch now), pie and chips from chippy, indian takeways and chinese

now we occasionally have subways salad bowls and the occasional chicken with salad from chippy (with sauce in pot separate)