It's no surprise that Americans are getting fatter and fatter. In the past twenty years there has been a rapid increase in obesity in the US.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 34% of U.S. adults are obese, up from 23% in 1988.
This trend is spiraling and most future predictions for a healthy America are bleak.
Researchers have correlated this accepted reality with another interesting phenomenon that emerged in the same timeframe: our reliance on credit and debit cards (not cash) for most consumer purchases, including food.
Results from several studies suggest that the consumption of unhealthy food is increasing with the prolific use of plastic for pay. Credit and debit cards, and now Apple pay are painless ways to purchase pretty much anything you want from handbags to hamburgers and shoes to sundaes.
The share of cash in consumer payments has fallen by a third, from 31% in 1974 to 20% in 2000. About 40% of purchases in 2006 were made using credit and debit cards and the average American carries 4.4 cards in her wallet.
The questions scientists are now asking: " Does the mode of payment influence consumers’ ability to control their impulsive urges?" " Are consumers more likely to buy unhealthy food products when they pay by credit or debit cards than when they pay in cash?"
Take a moment to think about it. If all you had was a $20 bill in your wallet and no plastic, would you add doughnuts, candy and soda to your basket along with the milk and eggs? Or would you opt for fresh fruits and vegetables instead, making your nutritional choices far healthier.
Turns out, junk food buyers understood the extra calories and cost of treats but since there was no immediate "pain" in their (cash) wallet, they gave in more readily to poor nutrition impulse buys.
Try it out! Why not make your grocery purchases in cash and give your body a healthy boost?