Proving perhaps that obesity is an economic issue, a new study finds that cheaper grocery stores attract a higher percentage of obese shoppers.
At the three lowest-priced stores in the Seattle area, the percentage of obese shoppers was almost 10 times higher than at Whole Foods Market stores, which is known for pricey organic and natural foods, MSNBC reported.
"If people wanted a diet to be cheap, they went to one supermarket," said the study's lead author, Adam Drewnowski, a University of Washington epidemiology professor. "If they wanted their diet to be healthy, they went to another supermarket and spent more."
Looking at more than 2 000 shoppers between December 2008 and March 2009, the researchers compared the consumers' choice of supermarkets with their education, income and obesity rates, which were calculated by their body mass index. Anyone with a BMI higher than 30 was defined as obese.
Although the study focused only on Seattle, Drewnowski said it's likely the pattern would be found elsewhere.
"If you have $3 to feed yourself, your choices gravitate toward foods which give you the most calories per dollar," he said. - (HealthDay News, May 2010)