Study finds supermarkets are driving a shift to Western diets in Kenya

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A paper entitled “Supermarket Shopping and Nutritional Outcomes: A Panel Data Analysis for Urban Kenya,” which was published in the journal World Development in February 2018, examined if food shopping habits in two towns in central Kenya had impacted obesity rates.

It found that while “the average price of calories purchased in supermarkets was lower than … traditional outlets” and supermarket shoppers were significantly more likely to be overweight than those “who obtained all of their food from traditional sources,” supermarket shopping did not result in significantly increased total energy consumption or rates of obesity.

However, it did note that “shopping in supermarkets increases the share of energy from highly processed foods in total energy consumption by about three percentage points” and concluded that supermarkets “influence dietary habits to a significant extent.” It added that supermarkets were playing a role in Kenya´s “nutritional transition” from a traditional diet high in cereals and fibre to a more Westernised dietary pattern containing larger quantities of sugars, fats, and animal-source food.

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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X17302486?via%3Dihub