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.

Why Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day

You may have heard the phrase that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Going about your day on an empty stomach can have an adverse effect on your concentration and energy levels. A new study now reveals that breakfast may even be more beneficial than previously thought.

According to recent research, eating breakfast daily can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Of course, this is not definitive proof that breakfast in itself is the sole contributor to a healthier lifestyle. Those who eat breakfast are also less likely to consume snacks and junk food between meals, which can attribute to weight gain and unhealthy spikes or drops in blood pressure.

The study findings were presented at a conference for the American Diabetes Association. The experiment consisted of 5,000 participants, none of whom had type 2 diabetes at the start of the study. The long-term research lasted 18 years, and seven years into it, participants completed surveys regarding their eating habits. What the questionnaire showed was that those who regularly ate breakfast were 30 percent less likely to become diabetic as well as 40 percent less likely to become obese.

Even those who skipped breakfast occasionally – one to three times a week – were 20 percent less likely to be obese or diabetic than those who would skip breakfast four times or more a week.

Other conditions were taken into consideration as well, such as whether the participants smoked, consumed alcohol, exercised or ate fast food.

Also, those who ate breakfast appeared to have benefited regardless of what they ate. Even so, it is common sense to stick with healthy options. Instead of a doughnut, bear claw or pancakes drenched in maple syrup, your breakfast choice should consist of fruit and vegetables with a serving of whole grains and lean protein.

Diesel Fumes Now Considered to be a Major Health Hazard

If you are in a metropolitan area and stare into the sky, you will see that the air has a haze-like quality to it. This is likely because the air is tainted with fumes emitted by factories and the thousands of vehicles on the highway.

For the most part, city dwellers are so use to it that it no longer affects them. For them, a smoggy sky is the norm. While it has long been known that diesel fumes pose a health risk, it was never considered a serious threat. However, the World Health Organization is now reconsidering and has plans to upgrade the threat level, which would put diesel fumes on the same level as secondhand smoke.

The odds of developing cancer from exposure to exhaust fumes is minimal, but because so many residents of large cities breathe it in in some form or another, the panel is in talks to elevate the risk status from “probable carcinogen” to “carcinogen.” This would put diesel exhaust in the same classification as passive smoking.

Anyone who lives in an urban area is at a high risk of daily exposure. This includes pedestrians, crew members who work on ships and ports, big rig drivers and heavy machinery operators.

The health panel consisted of members of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and was held in Lyons, France. The potential danger of diesel exhaust has not been considered since 1989 and was then labeled as a probable carcinogen. With the reclassification, it now holds the same status as other hazards, such as ultraviolet radiation and asbestos.

The U.S. government, in the meantime, still lists diesel exhaust as only a likely carcinogen. Officials said this was due to newer vehicle models that emit less fumes. While the overall risk factor has gone down due to more eco-friendly technology, there is still enough for health and environment experts to remain concerned.