Using Food Prices to Investigate Nutrition and Healthy Eating

In this episode, Dr. William Masters discusses the economics of nutrition and food prices. He debunks the misconception that healthy eating must be expensive and explains what can be done to improve food affordability for all families.

Will Masters is an economist at Tufts University, in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. He studies the development of agriculture, food production and food choice around the world.
“In these communities, where people are marginalized in various ways, its often difficult to get enrolled and remain enrolled because there are sets of hurdles to demonstrate eligibility, where it’s just hard to demonstrate. People are eligible, but its difficult to comply with the program. And so, we do have people who are eligible, as intended by congress, but then the state administrative bodies that run the program may not be able to reach everyone.”

Question of the Day: What makes a food “affordable” and “healthy”? What are some examples of your favorite healthy and accessible foods?

On this Episode you will Learn:
Economics and Policy for Food Systems
Misconceptions Surrounding Cost of a Healthy Diet
Affordability and Accessibility of Healthy Eating
Policy Improvements for Food Affordability
Chronic Disease Management and Prevention through Healthy Diets

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Key Points:
00:00 - Intro with Shireen!
1:32 - Why did you decide to pursue a career in economics and policy for food systems?

02:34 - How can we use the economics of nutrition to improve healthy eating?

04:44 - What are some common misconceptions people have around the cost of a healthy diet?

07:50 - Your current research with Food Prices for Nutrition at Tufts University focuses on monitoring food prices across countries in order to guide agricultural production and food markets for improved nutrition. Can you discuss more about your work here, specifically what you have learned about food prices and the affordability and accessibility of healthy eating in the United States?

14:32 - What happens when families cannot afford the cost of nutritional adequacy?

17:49 - What policy improvements and government actions are needed to increase food affordability?

21:35 - Can concrete data on the price of a healthy diet help the management and prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in the United States? If so, how?

29:20 - How can our listeners connect with you and learn more about your work?
30:46 - Outro with Shireen!
Healthy food
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