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Is it cheaper to eat healthy now or face possible health issues later?

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:18:25 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 22 2013 11:46:46 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Some people believe the cost to eat healthy is too high.

There may be some misconceptions about the price to eat healthy. The truth is that the consequences to not living a healthy lifestyle can cause big problems in the long run.

"There are severe consequences to eating unhealthy such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, obesity," Hendrick Medical Center Registered Dietitian Beth Ann Oldiges said. "These all go hand in hand. One affects the other."

One health and fitness professor said there is no quick fix to living well, but there are some practical steps you can take.

"If you can spend like an hour on Sunday afternoon, get some groceries and pack your lunches for the whole week," Hardin-Simmons Assistant Professor of Fitness and Sport Sciences Dr. Melissa Madeson said. "Pack snacks for your whole week."

For example, a pre-made salad, turkey meat, whole wheat pasta and spaghetti sauce gives you a meal for a few days costing $8, as compared to one meal at a fast food restaurant that costs an average of about $7.

"It's really not that much when you think about the money you're saving in the long run on medications or doctor bills or missed days if work," Dr. Madeson said.

There is a cost to living with chronic illness, but Madeson said to prevent this, "small habits can make a big difference."

Some diseases are hereditary and run through the family line. One other simple way to help improve eating habits is replacing sugary soda with water.

Stress triggers hormones that increase hunger, emotions and disturb sleep. Stress is also an underlying catalyst for heart disease and hypertension. Dr. Madeson suggested managing daily stress by walking and taking deep breaths in the middle of the day.