grocery shopping leads to weight gain

Photo: Gary Burchell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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The situation: You love a bargain, and, lo and behold, a warehouse store just opened up one town over.

Why you're gaining: A group of economists think big box and warehouse retailers that sell food cheaper and in bulk may be partly to blame for the country's weight issues. After evaluating geographical data on BMI, obesity and density of big box/warehouse retailers around the U.S. between 1990 and 2010, they found that more stores led to an increase in obesity in the surrounding area. "If one new big box store opened in a city of 100,000 people, we'd see obesity levels increase by about 2 percent," says Charles Courtemanche, study author and an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University. The researchers can't say for sure how these stores may contribute to obesity, but it may be because we typically buy processed food in bulk, not perishable fruits and vegetables.

How to stop it: If shopping at such stores is an important factor in your budget, be mindful about where you store your haul. You're more likely to eat what's right in front of you, so keep fruit on the counter and just a few packages of the chips or cookies that you got for a steal in an accessible spot in your kitchen (stash the rest on harder-to-reach shelves or in a pantry).