Obesity in America

by celine.m on February 2, 2015 - 2:28pm

Original title: The growth of Wal-Mart may have made America’s obesity epidemic worse

Written by: Danielle Paquette

Appeared in the Washington Post

Published on Monday January 26th.



Obesity in America is rising at a staggering rate, which raises many issues regarding the health of the overall population. Obesity can lead to many complications including heart disease, high blood pressure and even strokes and these problems cost the government about 190 billion of dollars in medical expenses. But who contributes to this sudden increase?

The low cost of fast foods and food distribution methods.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in America has increased from 13% in the 1960 to 35% in 2012. Most of the weight was gained during the 1980’s. Why is that so? The first Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in 1988 and the first Sam club opened in 1983, which made it a lot easier for people to buy in greater quantity. Today, there are a numerous amount of super stores that offer large quantities of food for a much cheaper price. Most of the food sold for a small levy is junk food.

Courtemanche released a study on the different economic factors that are also responsible for obesity in America. The first asset that was pointed out was the fact that we, as a population, buy too much in bulk. Large quantities are offered to us for a minimal price and we get easily influenced by these exceptional deals. Let’s not get fooled by the two for ones! These so-called great deals, pressure other stores to offer the same prices, which are usually attributed to junk food like chips, popcorn or candy.

Continuing with Courtemanche’s stream of thoughts, the stores density can have an impact on obesity. Opening a store per 100 000 residents can increase our body mass index by 10.8%. Seeing that these stores open closer to where people live, accessing food has become much easier and reduces our time to travel which has been proven to increase our overall body weight.

We are not to blame Wal-Mart and other Super Stores for making people obese. The population needs to control themselves on what they buy and start making healthier choices. We need to increase our consumption of healthier foods while gradually trying to put an end to eating junk food.


The Washington Post is an American Newspaper and it is the most widely distributed newspaper. It is considered one of the leading newspapers in America. The Newspaper has one over 47 Pulitzer prizes, which distinguishes the achievements accomplished by newspapers and online journalism. They are the second newspaper with the most wins for this prize. They have also won Nieman Fellowship awards, which are prizes given to the journalists.

Danielle Paquette, the author of the article, graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism where she got top honors in the Hearst National writing competition. Before she started working for the Washington post, she had a job in the Tampa Bay Times and in the LA weekly.





I think that your ideas are very concrete and well explained. I agree with the fact that super stores offer great deals on junk food so that people would buy more, which however, costs to their health.
This article above relates directly to your article which insists on us, consumers, to resist the temptation to buy the “two for ones” as you call it. However in the link above, they insist on the reason why obesity in America is increasing. They explain that it is not because of the inaccessibility of fruits and vegetables, as researchers have already assumed. Fruits and vegetables are not more expensive than junk food. It is the food environment American citizens are living in that incite them to do so. People think that the main human problem is hunger and starvation since it has been part of history. It is a way to insert cheap cost products to increase the mass consumption, which is the main cause of obesity.

I agree that the “deals” stores have to offer are often very tempting. This makes us buy excess food. In return, it generates more profit for the company. However, food in large quantity (bulk) is only partially the reason for the rise in obesity.

What we should be concern about is the exact content in the food because it is directly associated to health deficiencies. We, as consumers, know what we are indulging in since the law requires nutrition labels to be posted on all products. The problem is that most people do not take the time to scan through the nutrition facts or dismiss the importance of these labels. Therefore, health professionals should educate the population about the potential long term dangers of certain ingredients.

Another contributor that leads to the increase of obesity is the rise of fast food restaurants. Most of them have similar qualities that can be achieved by adding excess favoring for the taste and preservatives to make them last longer thus cheaper. None of these additions is good for our health and is often linked to obesity. Unfortunately, fast food is harder to control since some people simply do not have the time or money to prepare fresh meals and it can easily become an addiction.

In conclusion, I agree with the author of the post that people should make healthier food choices by taking the time to read the labels.