A recent survey found that increasing food prices are affecting more than people’s wallets — they’re affecting people’s health.
The survey, published in August by Sachs Media, was conducted for Farm Share, a nonprofit and the state’s largest food bank, revealing that rising food costs are changing the way Floridians eat.
Farm Share CEO Stephen Shelley said that more than half of respondents have had to modify their food habits to accommodate inflation.
Shelley said that while some people are reducing how much they eat, others are opting for cheaper alternatives like junk foods or highly processed foods.
“They are buying what we call ‘empty calories.’ Yes, cheaper to make, cheaper to produce and then sell, but ultimately don’t provide the nutrients that are good and healthy for the body to eat and then, that can turn around and lead to health issues,” Shelley said.
The CEO also said the survey found that the effects weigh heavier on low-income families with children, as well as Black and Hispanic people.
Shelley said the findings show how the financial crisis is turning into a health crisis.
“You go from a financial crisis, where you can’t afford the food, to then buying food that’s not good for you, then that turns into high blood pressure, diabetes, or other issues resulting from those health consequences of those empty calories,” he said.
To help combat food insecurity, Shelley said Farm Share is distributing 8 million pounds of food each month throughout Florida.
Lillian Hernández Caraballo is a Report for America corps member.