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Obesity More Common in Rural Areas

Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012 11:32 AM




Americans living in rural areas are more likely to be obese than urbanites, according to new research out of the University of Kansas.
The study, published in the National Rural Health Association's Journal of Rural Health, suggests cultural factors, higher-fat diets, and the physical isolation of rural dwellers are most likely to blame for the differences.
"There is a definite cultural diet in rural America, full of rich, homemade foods including lots of meat and dessert," said Christie Befort, a preventive medicine and public health specialist at the University of Kansas Medical Center who led the study.
"Access is often about travel time in a rural area, but it can also be that there's no place to go – literal physical isolation," added Befort. "It's tough to get to a gym if you live outside of a town without one."
To reach their conclusions, Befort and colleagues analyzed demographic, lifestyle, and obesity information collected by the National Center for Health Statistics. The results showed rural Americans typically consume a diet higher in fat, face challenges to accessing health care, disease prevention, and lifestyle activities.
The research also found disparities were greatest among younger Americans, ages 20-39, partly due to increased mechanization of previously labor-intensive jobs in rural areas.
"Physical activity is now needed to compensate for diet and technology," said Befort. "That requires cultural change because rural areas typically don't have a culture of physical activity as leisure time."

© HealthDay

 
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Americans living in rural areas are more likely to be obese than urbanites, according to new research.
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Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012 11:32 AM
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