Could buying your food at supermarkets rather than in the open-air markets put you at risk of becoming obese or developing diabetes? A new study conducted in three small towns in Kenya compared these two groups of shoppers and found that those who purchased their groceries at supermarkets were heavier and at greater risk of getting diabetes as well as heart complications.

Consuming supermarket foods, the study says, increases the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese by 20 percentage points and the likelihood of being pre-diabetic by 16 percentage points.

The likelihood of heart conditions also goes up by seven percentage points, even after accounting for other factors such as gender, education and economic status.

The study titled Supermarket Purchase Contributes to Nutrition-Related Non-Communicable Diseases in Urban Kenya, appeared on Thursday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The two-phase study overseen by Matin Qaim of the University of Goettingen, Germany, and also involving the University of Nairobi and Egerton University’s affiliated Tegemeo Institute concludes that supermarkets are executing a rapid negative change of nutrition in Kenya.

The researchers warn that negative health effects from supermarket foods can be rapid as demonstrated in their two-arm study – first in 2012 and then in 2015. Within the three years, they say the prevalence of overweight people increased from 27% to 32%, with the rates of obesity jumping from 14% to 22% in the study population.

Could buying your food at supermarkets rather than in the open-air markets put you at risk of becoming obese or developing diabetes? A new study conducted in three small towns in Kenya compared these two groups of shoppers and found that those who purchased their groceries at supermarkets were heavier and at greater risk of getting diabetes as well as heart complications.

Consuming supermarket foods, the study says, increases the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese by 20 percentage points and the likelihood of being pre-diabetic by 16 percentage points.

The likelihood of heart conditions also goes up by seven percentage points, even after accounting for other factors such as gender, education and economic status.

The study titled Supermarket Purchase Contributes to Nutrition-Related Non-Communicable Diseases in Urban Kenya, appeared on Thursday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The two-phase study overseen by Matin Qaim of the University of Goettingen, Germany, and also involving the University of Nairobi and Egerton University’s affiliated Tegemeo Institute concludes that supermarkets are executing a rapid negative change of nutrition in Kenya.

The researchers warn that negative health effects from supermarket foods can be rapid as demonstrated in their two-arm study – first in 2012 and then in 2015. Within the three years, they say the prevalence of overweight people increased from 27% to 32%, with the rates of obesity jumping from 14% to 22% in the study population.

From this and numerous other studies, it is evident that one’s diet is essential if you want to lose the weight and keep it off. In fact, diet may be even more important than exercise in this area. As the data has shown, weight loss in Kenya is becoming more and more of a health concern. Perhaps one way to get on the right track is to start paying more attention to where the food we eat comes from.

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