Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rates of severe obesity have increased much faster among rural adults and children than among urban counterparts

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart
Obesity has long been more common in rural areas; now two studies from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show the scope of obesity in among rural adults and children. One shows that rates of severe obesity have increased much faster in rural America than in urban areas.

And there are differences between rural men and women: 39 percent of rural men and 47 percent of rural women were obese, compared to 32 and 38 percent among urban men and women, respectively. And while severe obesity doubled among rural women in 2013-16, it more than tripled among rural men during that time period, Dennis Thompson reports for CBS News.

The second study, which looked at children and adolescents aged 2 to 19, found no significant differences in obesity between rural and urban areas (both were around 17 percent), but 9.4 percent of rural children were severely obese compared to just 5.1 percent of their urban counterparts, Thompson reports.

Aaron Kelly, co-director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine, said he was troubled by the relatively high percentage of severely obese rural children. These kids with severe obesity really need to have access to specialized medical care to treat their obesity, in the form of weight management services," Kelly told Thompson, but noted that access was a barrier to many rural patients: "They just aren't going to be able to reasonably drive to the bigger cities where these obesity specialists are who can help them."

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