Discount supermarkets tied to rising obesity rates

June 19, 2012
Discount supermarkets tied to rising obesity rates
Make healthy foods more affordable, researchers say.

(HealthDay) -- People who shop at lower-cost supermarkets are more likely to be obese than those who shop at higher-priced stores, according to a new study.

The findings suggest that supermarket prices -- rather than proximity -- may be a key weapon in the United States' fight against obesity.

Using the Seattle Obesity Study and information collected from a 25-minute , researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle examined information on a group of residents in King County, Wash.

Specifically, the researchers analyzed where the residents primarily shopped for groceries and what brands of food they bought. They also divided the supermarkets used by the residents into three price levels based on the average price of 100 products.

After taking into account the shoppers' demographics, education and income, the researchers found that only one in seven participants said they shopped at the nearest supermarket. The researchers pointed out proximity may be less important in King County than in urban areas, since residents there typically drive to the supermarket.

The study, published June 14 in the , also found were linked to the type of supermarket the people used. The was just 9 percent among those who shopped at higher-priced supermarkets, compared to 27 percent at lower-cost stores.

Although bringing supermarkets closer to underserved areas may help combat the , the researchers said making healthy foods more affordable is a key strategy that also should be considered.

"Systematic efforts to reduce obesity will need to take economic inequalities into account," the study's authors wrote in a news release from the American Public Health Association. "Ensuring equitable access to healthy, affordable foods -- with the emphasis on affordable -- may be key."

Explore further: Healthy foods missing from stores in low-income black neighborhoods, study finds

More information: The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on obesity.

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2 / 5 (4) Jun 20, 2012
I thought all food, including "healthy foods" , is more affordable now that it ever has been in history. Expenditures for food at home reached a historical low of 6.4% in 2010.

How more affordable does it have to be?
Or, can we quit blaming income status, genes, distance to stores, etc, etc, on our obesity problem?

The plain fact remain: we just need to consume less.
Such a simple solution, but so little will to do it.

1 / 5 (1) Jun 21, 2012
This is news? Anyone who has ever been to Walmart knows this.
3 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2012
So government need to force these companies to increase their prices so poor people can eat healthier?

One interesting thing I noticed is that customers at natural food stores are ruder.
5 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2012
I frequently shop both types of stores and I find all to have plenty of healthy AND affordable choices. So what is the true motivation of those behind this study? Seems obvious to me.
1 / 5 (1) Jun 24, 2012
More government intrusion? Put the blame on stores/restaurants again instead of on people?

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