Severe Obesity More Common in Rural or Urban Areas in US?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, MRP Chief, NHANES Analysis Branch Epidemiologist, NCHS/CDC Hyattsville, MD 20782

Dr. Ogden

Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, MRP
Chief, NHANES Analysis Branch
Epidemiologist, NCHS/CDC
Hyattsville, MD 20782

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: 40% of adults and over 18% of youth in the US have obesity. Disparities in obesity have been reported by demographics and urbanization.

We looked at the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity by demographics and by level of urbanization – rural, small/medium metro and large urban. We also looked at trends over time in urban and rural areas.

Obesity and severe obesity rates were higher in rural areas than large urban areas among adults. Among youth, severe obesity rates were higher in rural areas compared to large urban areas.

Differences in age, smoking, education or race/ethnicity between urban and rural areas did not explain the differences we found between urban and rural areas.

Between 2001-2004 and 2013-2016 severe obesity among men in rural areas more than tripled and among women more than doubled. Increases in severe obesity also occurred in urban areas in men and women but they were not nearly as large.

 MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: Over 9% of youth in rural areas had severe obesity in 2013-2016 compared to about 5% in large urban areas

Among men, severe obesity was more than twice as high in rural areas compared to large urban areas (10% versus 4%)

Among women, about 13.5% had severe obesity in rural areas compared to 8% in large urban areas. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: We hope to conduct further research into understanding the factors affecting the differences between urban and rural areas – especially in severe obesity – beyond differences in age, race/ethnicity and education.

No disclosures 

Citation: 

Hales CM, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, Freedman DS, Aoki Y, Ogden CL. Differences in Obesity Prevalence by Demographic Characteristics and Urbanization Level Among Adults in the United States, 2013-2016. JAMA.2018;319(23):2419–2429. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.7270

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