Is Wal-Mart Making You Fat?


Let's face it.

We're becoming a nation of beached whales.

We also like to blame everyone but ourselves.

So let's blame Wal-Mart .

That's exactly what two researchers have done in a study to be published in the March issue of the Journal of Urban Economics (always a good read in the bathroom).

As Wal-Mart prepares to announce changes to the fat content in its food, with the support of Michelle Obama, The Montreal Gazette claimstwo economists "tracked extensive health and population data between 1996 and 2005". They focused on areas of the U.S. where Walmart Supercenters moved in, providing the communities with access to lots of low-cost food.

"The researchers found that one new Walmart Supercentre per 100,000 residents meant an average weight gain of 1.5 pounds per person sometime over a 10-year period dating from the store's opening," the story says. "It also boosted the obesity rate by 2.3 percentage points, meaning that for every 100 people, two who weren't obese ended up in that category after a superstore opened."

Ok, let's think about that for a minute.

The average person gained 1.5 pounds over ten years? I'd call that pretty good. Only two more people out of a hundred moved into the obese category in the span of a decade? In my book, that's glass half full.

I've been trying to lose ten pounds for five years. Maybe I should move near a Walmart.

On the other hand, if I really want to lose weight, I should buy old NASA food. One of the old freeze-dried, vacuum packed Apollo roast beef dinners is up for sale by RR Auction. The last bid I saw was $472. The astronauts heated these meals with a little hot water. "The food was then squeezed into the mouth through a flat tube stored in the package."

Tang, this was not.

But be warned. According to Boing Boing, "Inflight nausea, anorexia, and undesirable physiological responses experienced by some crewmen were believed to be partly attributable to the foods."

I tell you what. Those astronauts needed one of these machines to help the roast beef settle in—a scientific creation so brilliant that Yahoo Sportsclaims it's up there with the invention of the automobile and the flat screen TV.

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