The Nonmetropolitan Residents Have More Excess Weight Problems, According to CDC
CLIFTON ROAD, ATLANTA – June 15, 2018
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, examined state-level 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data and found a significantly higher obesity prevalence among adults in nonmetropolitan than in metropolitan counties.
According to the CDC, 34.2% of adults living in nonmetropolitan counties have obesity problems in comparison to 28.7% among those living in metropolitan counties. CDC experts say that this data proves that the nonmetropolitan county residents pay much less attention to the excess weight problem. This is a disturbing prospect as obesity has a significant impact on human health and life expectancy.
These findings are consistent with those previously reported using 2005–2008 NHANES data, which documented higher overall obesity prevalence among adults living in nonmetropolitan versus metropolitan counties of the United States (3) and has expanded the understanding of this health disparity by highlighting differences across states and regions.
The highest percentage of nonmetropolitan county residents having excess weight recorded were located in Texas and Louisiana. There, the figure is close to 40%, which indicates serious problems in that region. The regions with the most noticeable difference in weight, between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan residents, are Florida, New York, and Virginia.
Wyoming was the only state where obesity prevalence was significantly higher among metropolitan county residents (32.8%) than among nonmetropolitan residents.
Data from CDC indicated that across all regions, adults living in rural areas were less likely to have access to healthier food retailers (supermarkets, large grocery stores, and fruit/vegetable specialty stores) than were those living in urban areas. In addition, several social determinants of health that are risk factors for obesity, such as persistent poverty and food insecurity, are more prevalent in rural than in urban areas.
In the analysis, the highest obesity prevalence and the greatest disparity in the prevalence between persons living in nonmetropolitan and metropolitan counties were in the South Census region. One possible contributing factor to this finding is the high rate of persistent poverty in the South, which also is affected by the largest difference in the poverty rate between metropolitan and nonmetropolitan county residents.