Obesity more prevalent in rural areas of the United States
A new US study of 438,000 adults has some interesting findings on regional variations and the prevalence of obesity in rural versus urban or suburban areas.
This study was performed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and considered a patient obese if they had a BMI of 30 or higher.
Tracking the prevalence of obesity is important, as obesity is a major risk factor for chronic disease, including type-2 diabetes, which is a risk factor for Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
The study found that of the 46 million people in the US living in non-metropolitan counties, 34.2% were obese, which was significantly higher than those living in metropolitan counties, where 28.7% of people were obese.
The largest difference in obesity prevalence in non-metropolitan counties and metropolitan counties was in the South, and Northeast.
For metropolitan counties, the state with the lowest obesity prevalence was Colorado (22.5%), and the highest in West Virginia (36.9%).
For non-metropolitan counties, the state with the lowest obesity prevalence was in Colorado (20.8%), and the highest was Lousiana (39.1%).
From these findings, the CDC recommended a number of obesity-prevention programs, as other studies have found that obesity-related chronic conditions are more prevalent in rural areas as well. This underscores the important of early detection of chronic conditions in these areas, enabling the recommendation of lifestyle modifications, including nutritional counseling and supervised exercise therapy.