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Study: The bigger the Wal-Mart, the fatter the shoppers

If your New Years resolution is to lose weight, you better hope a Walmart Supercenter doesn't open up around the corner.

A recent study found that the more Walmart Supercenters the company opens, the heavier the people living nearby become. Researchers at the University of North Carolina and Rhodes College say the reasons for this are two-fold: the low cost of food at Walmart and the quality of the food sold there.

The Montreal Gazette reported on the study. Here's what researcher Charles Courtemanche, an assistant professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, had to say on the findings:

"I think the most obvious story is that Walmart lowers the price of foods and a lot of the foods it has big price advantages on are the processed, inner-aisle types of food that aren't that good for you."

Women, low-income families and people living in less densely populated areas are those most at risk of weight gain after a Walmart Supercenter moves into the neighborhood, the Gazette reported.

Walmart is the largest grocery store chain in the country. The company has 2,899 supercenters nationwide, and most are open 24 hours. But can you really blame them for your weight gain?

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Natalie, personal responsibility definitely matters -- but let's not forget about people who have to decide between paying rent and feeding their children, not between buying cheap, processed food and expensive, whole food.
This is why our food system is backwards, and evil, and why obesity rates are highest in poor communities. Whole food should be the cheapest, and processed food should be the most expensive.

Walmarts specialty is garbage...much from third world nations. Garbage in your stomach makes you put on the pounds.

Wow.

How are these findings going to impact the drive to reduce food deserts by increasing supermarkets in poor areas?

The big question that should be asked is what is Walmart willing to compromise, to get healthier foods. Reducing fat, sugar, and salt will cause noticeable taste differences in the food. Three things; same taste at a higher cost premium; substitutes that are equally bad (even if not advertised today); or loss of taste. The thing is that this is just a PR campaign to really make customers believe that Walmart has reformed and that they have the customers best interest at heart.

When we all can have a real conversation (as a country) about the causal relations and affects between socio-economics, poverty, obesity and lack of educational resources and just education; we can get real about the problems with processed foods, government subsidies of the agri-business, petrochemicals in our water supplies, used to fertilize our subsidized food production and the like.

Until then, we will go on talking about the fatty's at Walmart and personal choice versus government 'control' of our lives and what to do about it all.

What about personal responsibility? Because the junk food is cheaper it's going to relinquish our control over whether we put it in our mouths?

No, we can't trust people to decide for themselves. We need government to tell people what they should & should not eat.

Then we expect those people who apparently can't be trusted to figure out that chocolate-frosted deep-fried jalapeno poppers should not be the basis of one's diet to vote for the pols who make all of these rules.

People who like Walmart are often on fixed incomes or have personal challenges in their lives. You probably could film a COPS episode just using Walmarts parking lots as the neighborhood.

Actually my answer to this problem is simple not complex but simple

Shop someplace else, even in the smallest towns there is a way to shop around wal Mart besides they never have what I want so simplely I rarely go there to buy food the only time I even go into there is when I need the cheapest version of the same product at the a lower price and 100% of time it's organic or when I need a 20 pound bag of sushi rice and seventh generation but that's it I much rather buy my food at my states stores and health food stores everyone is so nice at those stores I get the best customer service and they're friendly

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