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Modelling the cost differential between healthy and current diets: the New Zealand case study

Vandevijvere, Stefanie, Young, Nick, Mackay, Sally, Swinburn, Boyd and Gahegan, Mark 2018, Modelling the cost differential between healthy and current diets: the New Zealand case study, International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, vol. 15, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1186/s12966-018-0648-6.

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Title Modelling the cost differential between healthy and current diets: the New Zealand case study
Author(s) Vandevijvere, Stefanie
Young, Nick
Mackay, Sally
Swinburn, Boyd
Gahegan, Mark
Journal name International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
Volume number 15
Article ID 16
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2018-02-09
ISSN 1479-5868
Keyword(s) cost
healthy diets
food prices
modelling
ethnic diets
Summary Background: Evidence on whether healthy diets are more expensive than current diets is mixed due to lack of robust methodology. The aim of this study was to develop a novel methodology to model the cost differential between healthy and current diets and apply it in New Zealand.

Methods: Prices of common foods were collected from 15 supermarkets, 15 fruit/vegetable stores and from the Food Price Index. The distribution of the cost of two-weekly healthy and current household diets was modelled using a list of commonly consumed foods, a set of min and max quantity/serves constraints for each, and food group and nutrient intakes based on dietary guidelines (healthy diets) or nutrition survey data (current diets). The cost differential between healthy and current diets was modelled for several diet, prices and policy scenarios. Acceptability of resulting meal plans was validated.

Results: The average cost of healthy household diets was 40 and $60 cheaper than current diets due to large energy intakes. Discretionary foods and takeaway meals contributed 30-40% to the average cost of current diets. This cost differential could be reduced if fruits and vegetables became exempt from Goods and Services Tax. Healthy diets were cheaper with an allowance for discretionary foods and more expensive when including takeaway meals.

Conclusion: Healthy New Zealand diets were on average more expensive than current diets, but one-quarter of healthy diets were cheaper than the average cost of current diets. The impact of diet composition, types of prices and policies on the cost differential was substantial. The methodology can be used in other countries to monitor the cost differential between healthy and current household diets.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12966-018-0648-6
Field of Research 11 Medical And Health Sciences
13 Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30110487

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.