If there are farm fields outside your window instead of skyscrapers, you have a bigger chance of being seriously overweight. Research suggests that those who live in rural areas are more likely to be obese than their city-dwelling counterparts.
Researcher Christie Befort, Ph.D., at the University of Kansas Medical Center, believes part of the explanation might be dietary.
“There is a definite cultural diet in rural America, full of rich, homemade foods including lots of meat and dessert,” observes Befort.
She believes “physical isolation” may be another culprit.
“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,” she says. “It’s tough to get to a gym if you live outside of a town without one.”
Those living in poverty in rural areas are at significant risk of other health problems as well as obesity.
“We simply cannot ignore the link between obesity and poverty, and the disproportionate impact this is having on rural America,” says Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association. “If we truly want to decrease health care costs and improve the nation’s health status, we are going to have to start viewing obesity as a top-tier public health concern for rural Americans.”