Monday, July 16, 2007

Rural children are more likely than urban kids to be obese, study finds

“Here’s a surprise,” writes Geri Nikolai of the Rockford Register Star in Northern Illinois. “Children growing up in rural areas are more likely to be overweight or obese than their city counterparts. That’s the conclusion drawn by researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford after reviewing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on 46,000 children.

“Of those, nearly 8,000, or 18 percent, were overweight or obese. And rural children were 25 percent more likely to have weight issues than city children, said Dr. Martin Lipsky, regional dean of the college and co-author of the study.” Lipsky told Nikolai, “Rural children may have less access to healthier foods. There may be a fast-food restaurant in small towns, but not other types of restaurants. They may lack diversity in fresh fruits and vegetables in their markets. Sometimes there is less opportunity for physical activity like sports, a sidewalk to walk on or even having to park far away from an event and walk.”

A box with the story summarizes other findings: “The study showed that overweight rural children are more likely than their urban counterparts to be white; live in households at 200 percent below the poverty level; have no health insurance; have not seen a doctor for preventive care in a year; be female; use a computer for non-school work more than three hours a day; and watch TV for more than three hours a day.” (Read more)

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