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Surprising Science

Can Wal-Mart Make Us Healthy?

What is the significance of Wal-Mart's initiative to sell healthier and cheaper produce? What do we know about what works and what doesn't in changing people's eating habits?

The question we need to consider isn’t if Wal-Mart’s new healthy food policies will make a difference in the fight against obesity. It’s whether they will make a meaningful difference. The answer is far from clear. It’s difficult to deny that Wal-Mart’s initiative will bring greater attention to the issue of healthy eating, especially in the many low-income and rural communities that it serves. But its proposals, while broad, are relatively shallow. Does the largest, most influential, most ruthless retailer in the world really need five years to enact a 10 percent reduction in added sugar in its products?


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