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Supermarket proximity affects the way you eat


How near is a supermarket from where you live? What has it to do with your eating habits? According to a newly released study, the nearness of a supermarket from the place you live, plays an important role in determining your eating routine. Two terms devised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently exist to describe grocery store proximity. The first is food deserts and the other is non-food deserts. The first refers to communities with limited access to grocery stores, and the later is communities with grocery stores easily available. Both terms also refer to what style of eating you may partake in.

The study, headed by Munmun De Choudhury included three million geo-tagged posts from various social media. It was revealed that foods posted in food deserts were five to 17 percent higher in fat, cholesterol, and sugar, compared to foods posted in non-food deserts. “The USDA identifies food deserts based on the availability of fresh food. Instagram literally gives us a picture of what people are actually eating in these communities, allowing us to study them in a new way, ” said Mr. Choudhury.

However this is not the first time that a study similar to this one is released. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health study had released a similar report in 2002. In that report  it was found that Black Americans’ fruit and vegetable intake increased by 32 percent for each additional supermarket in the neighborhoods where they lived. Whereas white Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption increased by 11 percent with the presence of one or more supermarket in their neighborhoods.

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