Monday, June 15, 2009

Why are Americans fat?

Interesting study - it suggests that unhealthy food is discounted and made more affordable than healthy food. This shouldn't be news to anyone, but since it takes proof to make policy, maybe this is a breakthrough?

Supermarket discounts: Are they promoting healthy non-alcoholic beverages?
Sarah POLLOCK, Louise SIGNAL and Carolyn WATTS

Aim: The present study investigates the role of supermarket discounts in promoting healthy choices through evaluation of discounts applied to non-alcoholic beverages in New Zealand supermarkets.

Methods: Discount information was collected from four supermarkets in the Wellington region over a four-week period. These included two supermarkets aimed at customers of a high socioeconomic status and two aimed at low-socioeconomic-status customers. The beverage brand and size were recorded along with the original and discounted prices. The beverages were classified into green (drink most), amber (drink in moderation) and red (drink less) categories based on the Waitemata District Health Board Beverage Guidelines.

Results: A total of 1487 discounts were documented over the four-week period with the majority (57.6%) of these from the high-socioeconomic-status supermarkets. A higher percentage of beverage discounts were classified as amber (40.9%) or red (44.1%) rather than green (14.9%) across all beverage groups except water (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: This research suggests that less healthy beverages are discounted more frequently and to a larger extent than healthier beverages, but a nationwide study is required to confirm this. It appears likely that supermarkets could play a role in promoting healthy beverage choice if they refrain from discounting amber and red products.

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