Objectives. We estimated the association between the price of healthy and less-healthy food groups and blood sugar among US adults with type 2 diabetes.
Methods. We linked 1999–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey health information to food prices contained in the Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database. We regressed blood sugar levels on food prices from the previous calendar quarter, controlling for market region and a range of other covariates. We also examined whether the association between food prices and blood sugar varies among different income groups.
Results. The prices of produce and low-fat dairy foods were associated with blood sugar levels of people with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, higher prices for produce and low-fat dairy foods were associated with higher levels of glycated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose 3 months later. Food prices had a greater association with blood sugar for low-income people than for higher-income people, and in the expected direction.
Conclusions. Higher prices of healthy foods were associated with increased blood sugar among people with type 2 diabetes. The association was especially pronounced among low-income people with type 2 diabetes.
- The authors are with the Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.