Rural Living associated with Higher Rates of Obesity

Rural road - BSN

(Best Syndication News) - A study found that rural living brings higher rates of obesity compared to living in the city. The findings were published in the National Rural Health Association's Fall 2012 Journal of Rural Health.

Researchers from the University of Kansas investigated data from the National Center for Health Statistics. The information gathered on heights and weights of people is the most recent in over 30 years. They reviewed the information in this self-reporting study.

Christie Befort, Ph.D., assistant professor of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Kansas Medical Center, suggested that the high obesity rates may be related to cultural diet and physical isolation.

Befort explained that rural residents have rich, homemade food that includes plenty of meat and dessert. Rural residents typically eat a higher-fat diet in the US.

The other problem faced by rural residents is that they have a harder time getting the health care they need. They are provided less preventative efforts. They also have difficulty finding healthy-lifestyle activities.

Befort explained that rural residents have to travel farther to get to activities. Rural residents may have literal physical isolation because of their location. Befort gave an example of not having a local gym nearby to go workout at.

The study results found that rural obesity rates were higher for people between 20 and 39 years of age compared to their city dweller counterparts. The older groups did not see an inequality.

Befort thinks that the older people in rural areas are not obese because they had worked labor intensive jobs that had not yet been mechanized. Younger adults don’t have that opportunity. She suggests that technology has made work easier and people need to change their diet and physical activity in other ways to compensate.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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