"Does this grocery store make me look fat?"

You may ask yourself that question after reading a recent study from the University of Washington, which found that the more upscale the grocery store, the fewer overweight shoppers it has.

An analysis of Seattle-area shoppers between December 2008 and March 2009 found that only 4% of Whole Foods Market (Nasdaq: WFMI) patrons were obese. At the bottom of the list were stores where cheap food is in abundance: Kroger (NYSE: KR)-owned Fred Meyer at 22%, Safeway (NYSE: SWY) at 24%, and Albertsons tipping the scales at 38%.

The takeaway? Poverty correlates with obesity. As researcher Adam Drewnowski states, it's cheaper to eat ready-made, calorie-dense foods than it is to eat nutritious, high-quality fare.

According to MSNBC:

It's not a matter of availability, Drewnowski said. All of the stores in his study stocked a wide range of nutritious food, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Instead, he contends it's because healthy, low-calorie foods cost more money and take more effort to prepare than processed, high-calorie foods. In a separate study two years ago, Drewnowski estimated that a calorie-dense diet cost $3.52 a day compared with $36.32 a day for a low-calorie diet.

What's your take? Is your waistline correlated with your wallet, or is there more to the story? Weigh in below with your comments.

Fool online editor Adrian Rush laments the passing of the age when girth was associated with wealth. He has no position in any of the companies mentioned here, but he does love the garlicky kale salad at his local Whole Foods. Whole Foods is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool's disclosure policy is trying to lose a few pounds before its class reunion.