Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Grocery Stores Have Fat Chance Of Helping Fight Obesity

A new study has found that a nearby grocer doesn't mean better eating habits. Study finds customers are more likely to eat fast food.

supermarket

Photo: Anthony Albright (flickr)

Are grocery stores really all that healthy? Aisles and aisles of grocery stores still contain food that is just as high in calories, sodium, and fat as fast food.

If You Build It…

Food deserts affect nearly 23 million Americans, but a new study has found that building a supermarket where there is limited fresh food doesn’t limit weight gain.

A food desert is a rural or urban area where at least 20 percent of the residents live in poverty and 33 percent of the people live without a supermarket or large grocery store nearby. By pinpointing areas that have low access to healthy foods the USDA hopes to “expand the availability of nutritious food.”

To put this idea to the test, the archives of internal medicine created a study that tracked over 5,000 people in Birmingham, AL, Chicago, Minneapolis and Oakland, CA over the span of 15 years.

Income was the main factor that people took into consideration when deciding what to eat, not proximity to a grocery store.

…They Still Probably Won’t Come

In a war between grocery stores and fast food chains, the clear winner was fast food chains.

The researchers found that in low-income areas, how close fast food chains are has a direct correlation with how often people eat it. However, how close a grocery store is doesn’t have a correlation with how often people eat healthy food.

The research also begged the question: Are grocery stores really all that healthy? Aisles and aisles of grocery stores still contain food that is just as high in calories, sodium, and fat as fast food.

Read More:

  • Access to grocers doesn’t improve diets, study finds (LA Times)
  • Archives of Internal Medicine (AIM)
  • Tracking Food Deserts: Where Do You Live? (Earth Eats)
  • Urbanites Cry Foul On USDA Definition Of Food Deserts (Earth Eats)
Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson is a sophomore at IU majoring in journalism and Spanish. Currently she lives in Bloomington, IN but is originally from Indianapolis. She enjoys cooking, eating and sometimes exercising.

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