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Feds give professor $430,000 to study Latinos’ grocery store habits

A professor at San Diego State University is conducting research within grocery stores to determine how and why Latino shoppers purchase what they do in an effort to combat obesity.

Professor Iana Castro, an assistant professor of marketing in the College of Business Administration at San Diego State, is using nearly $430,000 in taxpayer dollars doled out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to subsidize her analysis.

Castro declined to comment to The College Fix about her research, a two-year project that launched in 2016 and is expected to conclude this spring.

As part of the effort, eye-tracking technology is used to observe shoppers’ tendencies and influences, and from the results, Castro and her fellow scholars working on the project hope to promote healthier food choices and reduce Latino obesity, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

The grant suggests that the Latino demographic is especially in need of this help because they are disproportionately overweight, shop more frequently than the general population, and are more likely to shop with children.

With that, the study will not only track shoppers’ eye movements, but also record their conversations for the the entire shopping trip from both the parent’s and child’s perspectives. By doing so, researchers can analyze which factors affect the parents’ buying decisions.

The advanced eye-tracking technology monitors which food items the participants consider buying and “identify aspects of the in-store environment that cue parents’ and children’s purchase requests.”

The experiment considers the “parent-child factors that influence grocery purchasing behavior.”

The research strives to analyze the psychological and financial aspects of nutrition and find a solution that will seamlessly integrate a healthier lifestyle into the Latino population, the grant proposal states.

The ultimate goal is to “promote the adoption and maintenance of healthier food and beverage purchasing is essential for improving health outcomes, including rates of obesity.”

MORE: Here’s a list of really stupid crap feds pay universities to waste taxpayer money on

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Haley Toy -- Palomar College

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