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An article in the Sydney Morning Herald today states that a healthy diet will cost a “typical” welfare-dependent family of four approximately 40% of their average income.

This, presumably, is a bad thing, because 40% is a significant proportion. A large chunk of the rest would probably be covering your accommodation. You’re not left with a whole lot more.

There’s not really a lot of analysis about what this means for how less-well-off families might make decisions about purchasing food. Nothing about how the cost of a healthy diet might be reduced.

There is, however, this statement at the end of the article:

The convener of the food and nutrition special interest group of the Public Health Association, Andrea Begley, said she supported a food tax and subsidies for lower-income families, particularly given rising obesity rates among lower socio-economic groups.

Because the solution to high cost of healthy food is to make the other food options even more expensive, in a paternalistic example of social manipulation?

I’m all for assisting people to eat a healthier diet if that’s what they want to do, especially if what’s stopping them is the high cost. So subsidies might be good. However, I’m not in favour of this kind of paternalistic “let’s force them to spend nearly half their income on the food we think they should be eating” attitude. That implies a certain level of judgmentalism, and I’m seriously not in favour of that!

(Oh, and gotta love how they throw in the OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA at the end.)

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Something that’s been bugging me for a while, well, practically all my life (since I was old enough to notice that some people in the world go on diets, anyway) is the cry of: “I can’t eat that, I’m being good!”

“Good” in this context usually means: “I’m on some sort of diet where I deprive myself of practically everything I like to eat for however long I can do it, because all those foods are evil. I probably won’t lose any weight. And then at some point I’ll binge on all those “evil” foods and gain some weight and feel really bad about myself. And then I’ll diet again.”

Um, people? That’s not good, at least, not under my definition of the word.

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