Spatial Association of Food Sales in Supermarkets with the Mean BMI of Young Men: An Ecological Study.

Güsewell, Sabine; Floris, Joël; Berlin, Claudia; Zwahlen, Marcel; Rühli, Frank; Bender, Nicole; Staub, Kaspar (2019). Spatial Association of Food Sales in Supermarkets with the Mean BMI of Young Men: An Ecological Study. Nutrients, 11(3), E579. Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI 10.3390/nu11030579

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Supermarket food sales data might serve as a simple indicator of population-level dietary habits that influence the prevalence of excess weight in local environments. To test this possibility, we investigated how variation in store-level food sales composition across Switzerland is associated with the mean Body Mass Index (BMI) of young men (Swiss Army conscripts) living near the stores. We obtained data on annual food sales (2011) for 553 stores from the largest supermarket chain in Switzerland, identified foods commonly regarded as "healthy" or "unhealthy" based on nutrient content, and determined their contribution to each store's total sales (Swiss francs). We found that the sales percentages of both "healthy" and "unhealthy" food types varied by 2- to 3-fold among stores. Their balance ranged from -15.3% to 18.0% of total sales; it was positively associated with area-based socioeconomic position ( = 0.63) and negatively associated with the mean BMI of young men in the area ( = -0.42). Thus, even though we compared supermarkets from a single chain, different shopping behaviors of customers caused stores in privileged areas to sell relatively more healthy food. Knowledge about such patterns could help in designing in-store interventions for healthier nutrition and monitoring their effects over time.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Berlin, Claudia and Zwahlen, Marcel


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services




Molecular Diversity Preservation International MDPI




Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2019 09:25

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2020 14:48

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

cultural language regions dietary patterns food purchases healthy food balance obesity socioeconomic status urban vs. rural




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