Obesity Linked to Discount Grocery Stores

Obesity is clearly linked to people’s dietary habits and what they decide to put in their mouths. It has long been thought that obesity is linked to the nearby presence of fast food diners and stores that sell unhealthy food options. This argument was used to account for the high obesity rate in poor neighborhoods, where there is a greater concentration of fast food joints. However, new study shows that this may not be the case.

Research found that those who shop at pricier supermarkets have a lower rate of obesity, as opposed to those who primarily obtain their foods from lower priced stores.

The study consisted of a survey over the phone in which participants were asked questions about their shopping habits, such as where they shopped and food brands they normally pick out. Information regarding the surveyor’s income, education and demographics were also collected.

The findings showed that only about one in seven people selected their shopping location based on its proximity from their home. This suggests that grocery store location may not influence obesity to the degree previously suspected.

What the study did show was that the obesity rate was 27 percent for the category of those who reported shopping at low-cost and thrift supermarkets. This is compared to just nine percent for those who shop at higher priced grocery outlets.

According to a report from the American Public Health Association, the key to combating obesity is to make healthier food options more affordable, especially in low income cities.

The problem is that a box of Twinkies tends to be cheaper than a bag of apples or oranges. It is hard to make informed decisions about food choice when your selection is seriously limited by your income. People will gravitate towards healthier and natural foods when their price is eliminated as a roadblock.

Eliminating the The Supermarket – The Agriculture Middleman

Farm w/ CowsWhat happens if you eliminate the food middleman? Answer: you’d go straight to the farm. Leave it to modern culture come up with an acronym for this sort of thing to make it sound more official and sophisticated than it actually is. They call it “CSA” for Community-Supported Agriculture.

For those who don’t like the sound of the phrase “spreading the wealth,” CSA would be the cure, because this is an actual, realistic way of spreading the wealth that doesn’t include taxing the rich and handouts to the poor. What I mean is, if you support local agriculture instead of shopping at Ultragrocersuperdupermegamart, you will give more money to local folks and less to conglomerate giants. Less to oil as well, since the food doesn’t have to be mass transported throughout the country.

CSA’s have been around for a while in the fruit and vegetable category, but now they’re also starting to sprout up for meat. And there’s no need to mention that the meat is raised humanely, is healthier, and no doubt tastes better than the local grocers.

There’s gotta be risks, right? Of course. A CSA customer pays in advance (usually a minimum of 6 months) for a percentage of whatever the farm produces. Customers pick up their food directly from the farm either at the farm itself, or at designated pick-up stations. Right now, there are only a few dozen of these farms that offer meat along with fruits and vegetables.

There’s one right on the South Carolina state line run by Tim and Liz Young, who raise cattle, pigs, chickens, lamb, and most importantly, turkey. I love turkey. Their farm is 76 acres and they don’t use artificial fertilizers, growth hormones, or antibiotics in their animals, and don’t keep them penned up. With milk and meat these days being tainted with high levels of estrogen from artificial hormone injections, this is a very good thing.

They’ve got 50 subscribers with a waiting list, and 2,000 people. The costs are a little bit more, but the sustainable farming practices, healthfulness of the product, and low impact on the environment, along with the fact that you actually know where your food is coming from, is well worth it.