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Less Food, More Drugs

Person pushing grocery cart filled with produce

Attention, Walmart shoppers: You are spending less on groceries and more on drugs that hope to target your obesity. This is according to a Bloomberg report. (A subscription may be required to read the full story). Weight-loss drugs, Ozempic and Wegovy, have filled Americans with hope that they can finally lose some serious weight. And the Bloomberg report shows that Walmart shoppers who buy those weight loss drugs are buying fewer groceries. It’s early and it’s one retailer, so it may be too early to call this a trend.

However, obesity is a growing, uncomfortable reality for millions of American adults. And it may be a few more years before we have a fuller picture of how people’s weight, consumption habits and food purchases were impacted by the COVID-10 pandemic.

The World Health Organization defines obesity as a person with abnormal amounts of fat, who has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or more. In the United States, that constitutes 42% of the adult population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly speaking, a 5’10” man is likely obese if he weighs more than 209 pounds, according to BMI projections (which can vary depending on a person’s muscle mass, which weighs more than fat).

Black adults, adults ages 40-59 and adults with less than a college education have the highest rates of obesity compared to others. And residents in Louisiana, Oklahoma and West Virginia had the highest rates compared to other states and U.S. territories, all according to CDC figures.

Some patients have complained of serious, but rare, side effects from the weight loss drugs, including stomach paralysis.

So, again, it’s far too soon to draw too many conclusions about whether the drugs will continue to expand in popularity, whether they will decrease overall food consumption and whether they will impact how much and what types of food sources producers prioritize.

But at least at Walmart, at least so far, there’s been a change.


American Farmland Owner Hayfields mountains


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