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Article

Shelf Space Devoted to Nutritious Foods Correlates with BMI

1Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA; Mackenzie Norman


American Journal of Food and Nutrition. 2014, Vol. 2 No. 2, 18-22
DOI: 10.12691/ajfn-2-2-1
Copyright © 2014 Science and Education Publishing

Cite this paper:
Mackenzie Norman, Jordan Hoffmann, Lawrence J. Cheskin. Shelf Space Devoted to Nutritious Foods Correlates with BMI. American Journal of Food and Nutrition. 2014; 2(2):18-22. doi: 10.12691/ajfn-2-2-1.

Correspondence to: Mackenzie  Norman, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, 21218, USA; Mackenzie Norman. Email: mackenzienorman@gmail.com

Abstract

Obesity continues to be a threat to global health. The goal of this study was to examine the correlation between shelf space devoted to various categories of food and BMI in a variety of nations. A total of 121 supermarkets in 10 different countries were evaluated by taking linear measurements of shelf space devoted to 8 categories of foods, and assessing whether there was any relationship to mean population BMI. Trends were detected for the following food categories: 1. higher percent shelf space devoted to fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, canned vegetables, and canned fruit were all associated with a lower national BMI; 2. higher percent shelf space devoted to cereals/pastas/grains/bread, junk food and dairy showed a trend to higher national BMI. Percent supermarket shelf space devoted to healthful foods across 10 different countries correlated with lower BMI ranking by WHO statistics; percent shelf space of grains, dairy and junk food was different for each country and showed a positive trend with BMI. Supermarket shelf space use can offer insight into a country’s BMI, and represents a potential intervention avenue for positive health impact. Further work is needed to confirm this correlation in other nations, regions, and socioeconomic and demographic categories within nations.

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