The Latest Proposed Risk Factor for Obesity: Product Placement?

This week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine includes an editorial written by Dr. Deborah Cohen and Dr. Susan Babey entitled "Candy at the Cash Register: A Risk Factor for Obesity and Chronic Disease."

In the article, they argue that the food choices people make at the grocery store are not entirely under their control and would likely be different if they were more aware of making those choices. People don't have full control over where their gaze lands, and the best way to know what a person will buy is to determine what a person looks at the longest.

Product placement works

Enter the impulse buy, product placement, and the psychology behind many of the stocking choices made by supermarkets. As much as one-third of all supermarket sales are alleged to come from products placed at the end of an aisle.

Because supermarkets are geared towards encouraging customers to spend money and not to make healthy choices, the authors suggest that product placement be treated as a risk factor for obesity.

The analogy they use is to compare this to construction safety regulations:

"Although people could certainly stay away from the edges of balconies and not lean out of windows, mandatory railings and window guards protect them from falling ... [thus regulations could] govern the design and placement of foods in retail outlets to protect consumers."

This is hard to take seriously, but there is some substance here. Clearly, there are more profits to be had in the sale of unhealthy foods than in healthy foods. If the ends of aisles are indeed so profitable, all one has to do is look there to see what the supermarket is most desirous to see us buy.

Little surprise they tend to be stocked with sweets.

While it is true that no one is forcing us to buy the unhealthy food, it is also true that supermarkets employ a variety of tactics borne of studies in human behavior to catch our attention and to influence our decision making.

Beginning in March, New York City's sugary-beverage ban begins, which will ban any sugary beverage for sale from being larger than 16 oz. Sugar consumption and poor diet in general are established risk factors for obesity and type 2 diabetes.

There is at least objective scientific evidence there. No such thing for product placement.

Get A Free 7 Day Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to InformationAboutDiabetes.com who may contact you with updates and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy.

More Articles

One way to ensure our body gets a variety of nutrients is eating nutrient-dense foods, and one of the most nutrient-dense foods on our planet is...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Matcha tea is a rich, creamy, full-bodied beverage with amazing nutritional properties that address several diabetes health concerns. The trace...

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

More Articles

Hot weather does not directly alter blood glucose levels. However, sweltering temperatures affect our metabolism and the release of hormones. Heat...

Those who have not yet been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can greatly reduce their susceptibility by doing one key...

With such a marked increase in the number of new diabetes cases, more people are wondering if type 1 diabetes...

Although diabetes is common, many people who have been diagnosed do not completely understand how it develops or whether it is hereditary....

It would be interesting to know how many people with diabetes actually use blood glucose control solutions to regularly check the accuracy of...

Any sweetener you use to replace table sugar is a sugar substitute. One type of sugar substitute is artificial sweetener. Three other types...

Chamomile tea has long been prized for its calming properties, but few people realize it’s also beneficial for glucose regulation. Traditionally,...

Diabetes is a health condition that disrupts the body’s normal production of insulin. Currently, more than one million Americans are diagnosed...

The HbA1c blood test, more commonly known as the A1C, is both a very useful and a very cool calculation of your average blood glucose levels over...

A mood is an internal state or condition of feeling. It colors everything else we experience, much like colored sunglasses add a tint to...

The different sugar content of fruits can be confusing when you are trying to manage your...

A diabetes meal plan is a guide indicating what types of foods, and how much of them, people should eat at meal and snack time. Following a meal...

The most convenient places in a fridge to store our stock of insulin may not be the best places. We tend to think our refrigerators maintain a...

Fluid retention, also known as edema, is a problem that affects many diabetics, especially those with type 2 diabetes...

This article was written exclusively for Information About Diabetes by Sarah Havemann, a 21-year-old type 1 diabetic who developed the disease...