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Presence of Candy and Snack Food at Checkout in Chain Stores: Results of a Pilot Study


Community health professionals must use multiple strategies to address the rising rates of childhood obesity in the United States. One such strategy is to address the underlying causes of childhood obesity, including lack of exercise and the consumption of calorically-dense snack foods. This study examines the presence of candy and snack food in the checkout lines of all retail chain stores in a selected community to determine the presence of these products, the ways in which these products are promoted, and the type of physical environment through which customers navigate during the checkout process. The findings confirm that candy, soft drinks, snacks, and ice cream were present in a large majority of these retail stores. Further, this pilot study found that many of these stores “corral” customers through the check-out line in such a way that it is necessary to pass these snack foods directly. Three themes for discussion emerged from the review of the data collected, including product marketing, product packaging, and product placement. Implications for childhood health are presented in the context of these marketing strategies. The results and subsequent discussion provide important insight into the ways in which the presence of candy and snack food at checkout lines might contribute to childhood obesity rates.

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Correspondence to Corey H. Basch.

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Basch, C.H., Kernan, W.D. & Menafro, A. Presence of Candy and Snack Food at Checkout in Chain Stores: Results of a Pilot Study. J Community Health 41, 1090–1093 (2016).

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  • Obesity
  • Children
  • Marketing