Supermarket discounts of low-energy density foods: Effects on purchasing, food intake, and body weight

Authors

  • Allan Geliebter,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
    2. Department of Psychology, Touro College, New York, NY 10010.
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  • Ian (Yi Han) Ang,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Maria Bernales-Korins,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Dominica Hernandez,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Christopher N. Ochner,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Tatiana Ungredda,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Rachel Miller,

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Laura Kolbe

    1. New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center, Department of Medicine, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10025
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  • Disclosure: The authors declared no conflict of interest.

  • Funding agencies: This study was funded by a seed grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Columbia University Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP).

Correspondence: Allan Geliebter (ag58@columbia.edu)

Abstract

Objective

To assess the effects of a 50% discount on low-energy density (ED) fruits and vegetables (F&V), bottled water, and diet sodas on shoppers' purchasing, food intake, and body weight.

Design and Methods

A randomized, controlled trial was conducted at two Manhattan supermarkets, in which a 4-week baseline period (no discounts) preceded an 8-week intervention period (50% discount), and a 4-week follow-up period (no discounts). Twenty-four hour dietary recall, as well as body weight and body composition measures were obtained every 4 weeks. Participants (n = 47, 33f; 14m) were overweight and obese (BMI ≥ 25) shoppers.

Results

Purchasing of F&V during intervention was greater in the discount group than in the control group (P < 0.0001). Purchasing of these items by the discount group relative to the control group during follow-up was reduced from intervention (P = 0.002), but still remained higher than during baseline (P = 0.01), indicating a partially sustained effect. Intake of F&V increased from baseline to intervention in the discount group relative to the control group (P = 0.037) and was sustained during follow-up. Body weight change did not differ significantly between groups, although post hoc analysis indicated a change within the discount group (−1.1 kg, P = 0.006) but not within the control group.

Conclusions

Discounts of low-ED F&V led to increased purchasing and intake of those foods.

Ancillary