Study: Walmart & Major Retailers are ‘Making Us Fat’ Food economists say yes – here’s why

Posted on Mar 30, 2015

by Christina Sarich  as seen at
Posted on March 22, 2015

While we can’t blame any one company for our burgeoning waistlines, a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that Big Box stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, as well as the prevalence of restaurants, may be a huge contributing factor to American’s weight gain.

The group of economists who conducted the study suggest that with processed food being cheaper and more readily available (at least when bought from mega stores like Walmart), we simply eat more of it. Co-author Charles Courtemanche, a health economist at Georgia State University, thinks that, “at least a sizable portion of the rise in obesity can be characterized as responses to economic incentives.” But that initial assumption can be deceiving.

It is more likely the kinds of cheap food that are available which are making us sick and fat.

The study goes on to point out that restaurants and Big Box stores are extremely effective at delivering convenience and junk foods which are loaded with fat. (These foods also happened to be loaded with other toxic products like MSG, GMOs, and high-fructose corn syrup which all have also been linked with higher obesity rates.)

Comparing data compiled from more than two dozen different economic and demographic factors, the researchers found that the density of restaurants and large-scale food retailers in particular areas was a major factor between 1990 and 2010 in the nationwide rise of obesity and BMI (body mass index) which measures weight against an individual’s height. The researchers found that there were far more obese people (those who were more than 50% overweight) in these Big Box and restaurant-dense areas.

The researchers concluded that Walmart is at least partly the cause of why we’re all getting fat:

“A growing literature examines the effects of economic variables on obesity, typically focusing on only one or a few factors at a time. We build a more comprehensive economic model of body weight, combining the 1990-2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System with 27 state-level variables related to general economic conditions, labor supply, and the monetary or time costs of calorie intake, physical activity, and cigarette smoking.”

Some larger chain stores are changing the types of foods that will be available to Americans, likely in response to consumer demand. One example is Target, which expects to roll out with thousands of new organic, healthy, and sustainable products in the next year. This will prove that convenience and cheaper prices don’t necessarily have to mean a tendency toward an obese nation.

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Image courtesy of: BusinessInsider

Christina SarichAbout Christina Sarich:

Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.

EZ Diet Comment:

While I agree with this article in part, I have to say I’m very impressed with WalMart’s efforts to cater to shoppers smart enough to figure all this out. Their Great for You campaign has given me hope that this behemoth retailer has made some executive decisions in the right direction.

Still however, 80% plus of WalMart’s grocery stock is cheap chemically tainted meats, dairy, and frozen food, much of it processed with GMO corn and soy. It’s highly processed crack-food for bloated, inflamed, future heart attack and cancer patients. Completely addicted like lab rats smacking the feeder lever for more cocaine until it kills them. The manufacturers of these products knew exactly how the population would react from Research and Development and studies on what would cause the average Lab Human to smack the feeder lever for more until it kills them.

WalMart could do a much better job in the area of sauces and dressings. Most of what they stock is all cheap, high sodium, high HFCS, MSG, chemical concoctions. Occasionally I stop and look to see if any new clean sauces have been added, and it hasn’t happened in five years of monitoring. Does absolutely no good at all to buy clean healthy food and dump contaminated sauces and dressings all over it. Their larger mega stores may stock “a” cleaner brand like Brasswells, but in the outlying countryside they stock no clean dressings and sauces because the country folk must not be as smart as the metropolitan folk. If it doesn’t sell, they can’t have it on the shelves.

I’m very impressed though to see KerryGold butter at a mid-sized country WalMart.  I’m also very impressed to see plastic wrapped organic vegetables about 50% less than their competitors. They also do a much better job with grapefruit as well.  They have the grapefruit market nailed down with consistent high quality product at the best price.




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