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Using a Grocery List Linked to Better BMI

Study finds low-income shoppers who used list made higher quality food choices and had lower body weight…

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Researchers surveyed more than 1,300 mostly overweight and obese residents in two poor, primarily African-American communities and found that shoppers who regularly made grocery lists also made higher quality food choices and had lower body weights. Dubowitz and colleagues surveyed a population with 80 percent of participants reporting household income of less than $20,000 a year. Just 33 percent were employed. They lived in an area with limited access to healthy foods.

Just under one third of the participants said they “always” shopped with a grocery list, while another 17 percent did so often and 26 percent did so occasionally. People who used grocery lists all the time were more likely to be female and older, less likely to be employed, and more likely to be trying to eat fewer calories. After controlling for these factors, the researchers found that dietary quality remained significantly higher among participants who always shopped with a list. Using a shopping list was also associated with having a BMI about one point lower compared to people who didn’t use lists.

The researchers concluded, “Shopping with a list may be a useful tool for low-income individuals to improve diet or decrease body mass index.”

Practice Pearls:

  • Researchers surveyed more than 1,300 mostly overweight and obese residents
  • 80 percent of participants reporting household income of less than $20,000 a year. Just 33 percent were employed
  • Using a shopping list was also associated with having a BMI about one point lower compared to people who didn’t use lists.

Tamara Dubowitz. Using a Grocery List Is Associated With a Healthier Diet and Lower BMI Among Very High-Risk Adults. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2015.01.005 online May 7, 2015.