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Which countries have the healthiest diets? Food poverty is about the inability to afford and/or access food in sufficient quantity and of required quality and it is pervasive, regardless of the income per capita of a population. Ideally, food intake should be balanced, which implies access to fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, proteins (meats and beans), dairy products, and healthy oils while minimizing or reducing consumption of alcohol, salt, and sugar. For a variety of reasons, income being paramount, disparities in access to quality food undermines the average daily diets of millions of people worldwide.

  • A comparison of data on the consumption of various food products per capita and gross national income per capita shows that people in high-income countries consume more vegetable oils, dairy products, and meat than people in lower income countries. As income per capita decreases, consumption of cereals accounts for a bigger share of the average person's daily diet.
  • Wealthier populations also eat more. For instance, the average American has an annual income of $56,000 and consumes around 435 kg (nearly 1,000 lbs) of food per year; in contrast, the average Mozambican has an annual income of $480 and eats approximately 182 kg per year (400 lbs).
  • People living at the extreme poverty level tend to consume a higher volume of starchy roots and cereals. As mentioned above, in rich countries, people tend to eat more dairy products, although India is an exception, potentially because it is one of the world's largest producers of milk.
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