Yes, those of you who follow my disclosures may have noted that I recently added Wal-Mart. Yes, I bought it because Wal-Mart has because they have been going greener and because of the recent news that Wal-Mart Pledges to Promote Healthier Foods, WSJ, 1/20/2011.
Then I read “researchers found that one new Walmart supercentre per 100,000 residents meant an average weight gain of 1.5 pounds per person sometime over a 10-year period dating from the store’s opening. It also boosted the obesity rate by 2.3 percentage points, meaning that for every 100 people, two who weren’t obese ended up in that category after a superstore opened.
“I think the most obvious story is that Walmart lowers the price of foods and a lot of the foods it has big price advantages on are the processed, inner-aisle types of food that aren’t that good for you,” explains the researcher from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. (Study: When New Walmarts Open, People Get Fatter, The Consumerist, 1/19/2011)
At least I’ll be able to vote in Wal-Mart’s elections and will be able to introduce resolutions. Although with the number of shares the Walton’s own, proposals by shareowners aren’t likely to get a majority vote. Still, I’m hoping to have more influence as an owner than as an outside critic and if Wal-Mart is serious in its commitment we may just find that in a few years when Wal-Mart enters a community residents lose weight.