Briefing Paper

The Cost of Eating Healthy in Kenya

Low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) are experiencing a reduction in infectious diseases but an increasing burden of chronic and degenerative diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. As LMICs transition towards stronger economies, the disease burden of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are also rising rapidly, and if left unchecked, it may present a huge and challenging economic burden to the healthcare system. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) such as carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices, foods high in salt such as salty snacks, processed foods, and foods high in saturated and trans fats are increasingly forming a significant proportion of diets for many people living in LMICs, thus increasing the risk of NCDs including obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The burden of NCDs in Kenya has been increasing, with unhealthy diets being one of the key risk factors. The rapid growth and urbanization of Kenya’s population has important implications on its dietary behaviour. Therefore, there is need to understand and address the prevailing and increasing risk factors for NCDs including unhealthy diets. In this study, we assessed patterns, costs, determinants, and inequalities in eating healthy. We also explored price and expenditure elasticities of commonly consumed foods.