Saturday, September 15, 2012

Study says almost 40 percent of rural Americans are obese, while only about a third of urbanites are

Getty Images photo via ABC News
Rural people are more likely to be obese, according to a new study, "the first in more than 30 years to use actual measurements of height and weight, rather than self-reported data, which can be unreliable," reports Mary McVean of the Los Angeles Times. The study "suggests rural obesity is a bigger problem than we realized," writes Dr. Julielynn Wong of the ABC News medical unit.

"People tend to overestimate how tall they are and underestimate how much they weigh," said the lead researcher, Christie Befort, assistant professor of preventive medicine and public health at the University of Kansas Medical Center. "The differences between rural and urban were most pronounced for younger adults between the ages of 20 and 39."

She said the rural-urban disparity could be a result of the "cultural diet" of rural people, which generally has more meat and fat, and isolation from better food sources and exercise facilities. The Times story also says "another factor could be the increased mechanization of farm work," but that presumes that a large percentage of rural Americans work on farms, which is not true.

The study found that 39.6 percent of rural Americans are obese, while 33.4 percent of urban residents were, but the story does not give the study's time period or how it defined "rural."

The study appears in the latest issue of the subscription-only quarterly Journal of Rural Health, which is subscription-only; the journal's site says abstracts of its articles are available from the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service, but the article has not been posted at this writing. for the Times story, click here.

No comments: