It is expensive to lead a healthy lifestyle. Agree or Disagree?I have tried to lead a healthier lifestyle since I nearly stroked this Summer after a sudden raise in blood pressure. Ever since then,...

It is expensive to lead a healthy lifestyle. Agree or Disagree?

I have tried to lead a healthier lifestyle since I nearly stroked this Summer after a sudden raise in blood pressure. Ever since then, sodium is the enemy and I've switched to eating organic.

The budgeting had to be re-done. Some products I could buy in bulk, but those of higher quality came with a hike in the tab.

Either way, it is (in my opinion) still cheaper to pick up a 5$ pizza than to buy organic veggies. I wish it were the other way around!

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What price can you put on your health and well-being?  Is it cheaper to stroke out and die or to live? It is been my observation over the years that people make time for what they consider important and they also find the money for things that they want to buy.  So.... we cut corners on unnecessities and eat better, right? 

Besides, aerobic exercise is usually free and it goes a long way toward reducing health problems.  In fact, years ago there was a magazine article in Runner's Journal on a younger woman who was diagnosed with cancer.  She wrote that this devastating news knocked her back for a while, but she decided that if she were to die, she would at least not be fat in her coffin and look the best she could for her family.  So, she started to walk, and then jog.  She entered 3K and 5K races and won  trophies. After one visit to the doctor, she was told that she no longer had cancer.  Yes, the cancer was gone; the doctor was amazed, but he could only conclude that the changes in the woman's body from her exercise had made this change.  Similarly,  aerobics have proven effective in reducing blood pressure, especially when performed in conjunction with wise eating habits.

Purchasing the foods that we need to eat is an investment in one's health and very life--price is secondary.  Maybe eating less can make up the difference? And, maybe after losing some weight and getting on an exercise program, some favorite foods can again be enjoyed.

lschertz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not think this is necessarily true.  It is expensive to live a healthy lifestyle if you are picky or finnicky about your foods.  "Organic" does not equal "healthy."  Too many people assume that living a healthy lifestyle requires a person to buy organic food and fresh, never frozen meats and produce. But you can eat healthily and not break your budget, for sure.  Frozen vegetables are healthy, extremely versatile, can be added to anything, and are fairly cheap.  2 lbs of frozen broccoli costs under $2. 

Buying the fruits and vegetables in season makes eating fresh produce less costly as well. But you cannot be super picky about what fruits or vegetables you eat; you have to be willing to buy what is in season and on sale.

Living a healthy lifestyle would definitely include water as a main source of hydration.  Seeing as one can get water free from a tap or for $0.32/gallon at the store (when refilling jugs), it is much less costly than any sort of unhealthy liquids.

Living a healthy lifestyle also means exercising.  This is free if you run or walk outside.  A gym membership is not required, fancy equipment is not required.  All you need is motivation and time.


Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because of a quirky immune system, I must buy organic, and I can confirm that it is a lot more expensive. The two options when buying organic are (1) pay more or (2) have less variety. Yet "healthy" eating does not of necessity mean organic. In other words, there is a difference between "healthy," which opposes "unhealthy" and organic. Of course, it goes without saying that organic food is the optimum in "healthy" [Caveat: as long as it is processed and packaged safely, and much is not] because it minimizes the ubiquitous accumulation of chemical body burden of VOCs and POPs and all the rest of them. Yet "healthy" can be attained for those not interested in their accumulating chemical body burden by rejecting prepackaged goods and shopping only from the perimeters of their supermarkets: fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry (the President's Advisory Council warned a few years ago to reject fish because of the high percentage (apprx. 66%) of plastic particles and other toxic chemicals in their bodies--which goes into your body--saying only trout and Alaskan Salmon were considered safe), dairy, grains.

booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So have to weigh in on this one. It is SOOOO expensive to eat healthy. It is also a time-consuming process when one first begins. Knowing what one can eat, and they investing in fresh vegetables and produce (more expensive if it is organic), as well as non-processed foods, and those without hydrogenated oils or preservatives, is expensive and confounding. When I start a new diet (or just pick up an old one, to start losing again), I can spend two or three hours in the store on the first visit...measuring fiber, fat and sugars. And while "whole wheat" has made a great "show" in the American food industry, it's amazing how little fiber there is in these "whole grain" products. The better the product in these areas, the more they cost: either driven by higher demand or the cost of processing outside of the mainstream of the food industry. There is no question that if it has less sugar, the generic brands cannot manufacture these things likes the major brands can: we spend more money. It's cheaper being overweight, it seems! (Even Saltines are bad for you, with hydrogenated oils...)

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is definitely more difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle.  Fruits and vegetables can be pricey.  You can grow your own, but there is so much work involved there.  What if you have an apartment?

An agricultural department study that came out in May argues that eating healthy is not as expensive as we think.

"Cheap food that provides few nutrients may actually be `expensive' for the consumer from a nutritional economy perspective, whereas food with a higher retail price that provides large amounts of nutrients may actually be quite cheap," the study said. (see second link)

However, you could argue that this study is somehow biased.  Of course the Department of Agriculture would be in favor of buying fruits and vegetables.  Ideally, everyone would be able to have time to cook- because that is the real issue here.

Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I guess the question is to look at it in the short term versus the long term.  In the short term, leading an unhealthy lifestyle is somewhat less expensive than living a healthy lifestyle.  With dollar menus and cheap carbohydrates to be found everywhere, one could certainly eat cheaper than buying lean beef or chicken to eat with fresh vegetables.

The trade off is in the long term.  One visit by the ambulance because of heart distress and a trip to the hospital to check out your heart will likely cost an individual thousands of dollars just to see if there is a problem.  Treatment of high blood pressure or any coronary issues will quickly gobble up any financial gains made by eating cheaply, but poorly.  In the short term eating bad might not be a bad idea financially, but the price difference in food will be decimated by health problems in the future.

jovip18 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the main reasons that people struggle to manage a balance between healthy eating and budget is the way in which many Americans view what is edible when it comes to fruits and vegetables. 


Much of what westerners would consider “waste” are things that are utilized in other parts of the world.  Stems, leaves, peels, cores etc are all things that people throw away that can actually be used, with a bit of creativity, to stretch a budget.  Very few parts of any plant are actually harmful when consumed, even if people generally toss them out. 


The biggest cost to eating healthy is the time investment. 

rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It can certainly be more expensive (or at least more labor-intensive) to eat healthy. However, other aspects of healthy living, especially exercise, are inexpensive, possibly even free. Additionally, avoiding certain foods, say sugary drinks, in favor of water, can actually save money. The point of the thread, though, is well-taken--this speaks to the problem of "food deserts" that exist in many communities. But overall, I think the problem is even more complex--finding time and energy to devote to preparing healthy meals is an issue for even people with access to more food options.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don’t think that the choice has to be $5 pizza vs. organic vegetables.  Sure, if you take that as the choice, healthy food is a lot more expensive.  But I can get boneless skinless chicken breast for $2.69 per pound on a regular basis (not more expensive than ground beef, particularly when you consider how much of the mass of ground beef you lose when the fat fries off).  You put that with things like white beans and bell peppers and such, you get food that is pretty healthy and is not that expensive.  Of course, this is predicated to some degree on having the time to cook.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I completely agree that it is far more expensive to lead a healthier lifestyle than one "fueled" by less healthier choices. Chicken is far more expensive than ground beef. Organic products are far more expensive than ones which are not organic. Like you mentioned, a $5 pizza feeds the family cheaply when one could easily spend $20 or more on a fresher and healthier dinner.

I, too, wish it were the other way around.

wifii213 | Student

Maybe in way it is, but actually it's not. But it will definitely be a struggle to lead a healthier lifestyle. You need to make the right decisions to live happily and healthfully. You might need to change to a new diet and it may cost a lot. But with proper planning and assessment, it wouldn't be not much of a problem. Living healthy can start from the simplest things such as walking, exercising, eating an apple a day, avoiding too much fats and all those other good stuff. Remember, "Health is Wealth".

suzannah304 | Student

In reply to #15, my point here is not about being healthy or unhealthy. It's about leading a healthy life. As i said earlier, satisfied people are healthier and satisfaction has no price according to me. We can always try to be satisfied and lead an inexpensive lifestyle. Afterall it's that dissatisfaction that has led to the disasters of modern world.

luiji | Student

I meant:

If a person's healthy when they're satisfied, no one is ever going to behealthy... ooops...

luiji | Student

It's never expensive to live  a healthy life. There are ways by which we can live healthily without much expenses. A person's healthy when he is satisfied.

If a person's healthy when they're satisfied, no one is ever going to be satisfied...

suzannah304 | Student

It's never expensive to live  a healthy life. There are ways by which we can live healthily without much expenses. A person's healthy when he is satisfied.

luiji | Student

Yes, I have been grocery shopping. In fact, I work at a grocery store, where I see people spend hundreds of dollars a week on shopping.

It is expensive the shop, no matter what you're shopping for. And it is more expensive to shop healthily - I admit that. But my point is that if you save, buy bulk, get your food from orchards / farms, etc, you can probably save by being healthy.

discussion1984 | Student

Hahahaha. Have you ever been grocery shopping? Of course it's expensive to live healthily. It always has been, and it always will be.

luiji | Student

Eating healthier doesn't have to be expensive. If you budget right, and choose the cheaper, healther goods, you can probably save some money.