Your supermarket may affect your weight, according to a report published in the open access Journal PLoS ONE.
The study, conducted in Paris from 2007 to 2008, found that participants who shop at discount supermarkets, in supermarkets in areas with poorly educated consumers, or in supermarkets far from their own neighbourhood had higher body mass indices (BMI) and waste circumferences.
As Basile Chaix indicates, "shopping at discount supermarkets was more strongly associated with higher body weight and abdominal fat among low educated than among high educated participants."
Changing food buying behaviour
Supermarket size and produce quality, on the other hand, were not correlated with either BMI or waist circumference.
Previous work of this type has largely focused on general neighbourhood characteristics instead of specific personal behaviour, but the current study, which included 7 131 participants, revealed that only 11.4% shopped for food primarily in their residential neighbourhood. This result emphasises the importance of evaluating people personal food environments.
The authors, led by Basile Chaix of INSERM in France, conclude that supermarkets may be a useful site for public health interventions to change food purchasing behaviour.
(EurekAlert, April 2012)