Supermarket choice may affect body weight, research finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th April 2012

A person’s choice of supermarket may be linked to their weight, according to a French report published this week in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The study, conducted in Paris from 2007 to 2008 by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, included 7,131 participants.

The study found that participants who shopped at discount supermarkets, supermarkets located in areas with poorly educated consumers, or supermarkets not local to the consumers neighbourhood,  had a higher body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference.

Supermarket size and produce quality did not correlate with either BMI or waist circumference.

The study concluded that supermarkets may be a useful site for public health interventions to change food purchasing behaviour.

Previous research of this type has largely focused on general neighborhood characteristics instead of specific personal behaviour. This study revealed that only 11.4 per cent shopped for food primarily in their residential neighbourhood. The researchers say this result emphasizes the importance of evaluating consumer food environments.