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First Author: YIN Jingjing

The Chinese Dietary Guidelines propose a balanced diet for healthy living, but the affordability of this diet needs to be considered, especially for low-income households. To investigate the affordability of a healthy diet, this study analyzes the daily retail prices of 46 food items in 36 Chinese cities from 2016 to 2021. This study compares expenditure, diet composition, and nutritional status in two scenarios aligned with the guidelines. The results show that the mean minimum cost of a balanced diet exceeds the current per capita food expenditure for at least 182.85 million urban households. This suggests that low-income people would need to increase their expenditure by at least 20–121% to achieve the recommended diets. This study also identifies affordable and nutrient-dense foods such as standard flour, eggs, black beans, and cabbage, which policymakers should focus on when monitoring food prices. The findings recommend a combination of social and food system policies to reduce prices and make healthy diets accessible. This study identifies the gaps in the Chinese Dietary Guidelines for ensuring accessibility for vulnerable groups and provides a template for policymakers and researchers to track diet affordability using available food price data in China, contributing to China’s 2030 Health Plan and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Contact the author: ZHANG Xinhuan
Page Number: 2704
Issue: 12
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PubYear: JUN 2023
Volume: 15
Publication Name: NUTRIENTS
The full text link: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15122704