Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare found that lower-income families consumed fewer vegetables and had fewer teeth.

Does a lower household income equate to a lack of vegetables in the diet and fewer teeth? According to recently released results from research conducted by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare last November, in fact yes, it does.

The governmental study investigated Japanese citizens’ lifestyle habits across income levels and found that there were significant gaps based on different income levels in both the citizens’ dietary intake and average number of teeth. Specifically, it was determined that households with an overall income of less than 6 million yen (US$49,664) consumed higher amounts of rice and bread and less meat and vegetables than households with an overall income of over 6 million yen. Members of lower-income households also demonstrated less awareness regarding dietary health knowledge and reported having less time to prepare food, thereby basing meals around fast and easy-to-consume staples.

Furthermore, members of lower-income households composed a greater percentage of people with fewer than 20 teeth, a greater percentage of smokers, and a greater percentage of people not going for regular physical examinations, in relation to people from higher income households.

Japanese net users responded to the report with a variety of comments:

“How about the percentage of hair remaining?”

“I’m unemployed and don’t have any teeth; if I got a job, will my teeth grow back?”

“We with the cavities are winners because we’re financially supporting dentists (the losers)!”

“Vegetables are cheap now. One daikon costs 50 yen ($0.41), and one head of cabbage costs 100 yen ($0.83).”

“‘Fewer than 20 teeth’? Can you even eat with so few??”

“6 million yen ($49,664) is the cutoff, huh…”

It stands to reason that the trend of people from lower-income households consuming more cheap carbohydrates and fewer well-rounded meals, along with having less access to adequate dental care, is an occurrence not only in Japan but in many other parts of the world as well. Whenever you can, try to sneak some leafy greens into your diet, folks!

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News via Otaku.com
Featured image: Tina Keyhani