It’s no secret that obesity has reached pandemic proportions in this country. However, it’s not often mentioned in the same breath as the rise of big-box stores like Costco and Sam’s Club. JiggyHealth has observed that the proliferation of large warehouse stores beginning in the early 1980s correlates closely with the rise of obesity in the United States during the same period.
One JiggyHealth staffer remembers vividly when a schoolmate brought a backpack to school loaded with full-sized Snickers and Hershey’s bars purchased from Price Club, the forerunner of Costco. The year was 1983, and the boy made a handsome profit quietly selling the candy bars to students at retail price. With a hungry and captive market, the schoolmate continued his experiment in capitalism until the principal caught on. Was this boy the canary in the coal mine?
Research has shown that our prehistoric brains are wired to eat everything in front of us. It’s evolution’s way of coping with famine. To our brains, 50 snack-sized bags of Doritos are 50 delicious opportunities to survive. Since processed foods are hyper-engineered to taste good, willpower becomes even more difficult. And because famine is not a regular occurrence, it’s easy to gain weight. Studies have shown that obesity can lead to a shortened lifespan.
Just like the school principal, parents must be the superintendents of their own cupboards and enact a ban on large portions of supersized junk food items in their homes. Ultimately the rule, “Out of sight, out of mind” applies. But don’t stop shopping at Costco, just pick up a jumbo portion of wild Alaskan salmon fillets or baby carrots instead.
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