Guess what’s helping fight the increase in obesity rates in rural communities? That’s right: Walmart. (Pause for double take.) At least that’s the case if you believe a new study, as reported on the Daily Beast.

The study presumed that Walmarts made food more affordable for patrons, which was correct. But it also presumed that the kind of food being sold was contributing to obesity rates. Instead: “there was a small but statistically significant reduction in obesity rates in communities with a Wal-Mart, perhaps because the store also sells fresh produce of good quality at a good price.”

Smoking and booze consumption also tended to go up when Walmart and Sam’s Club stores were present, but not enough to offset the positive health impact of the grocery section. Interesting food for thought.

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