Go to the MidWest and the typical lifestyle habit you will see - people eating many, if not most of their meals at buffets and cafeterias and people who are not exercising because they don't find their physical community "exercise friendly."
This new study out of Washington University St. Louis also offers that people spend much of their time in cars and fruits and vegetables are not top offerings at many of their shopping centers. Though currently 30% of adult Americans are obese, rural adults have even higher rates of obesity and are less active than their urban and suburban counterparts. That means they are ripe for hypertension, stroke, diabetes type 2 and other health conditions.
This is one of the first studies to look specifically at urban America and its weight struggles. The people in these communities share the fact that the lack of sidewalks is a "downer" when it comes to walking or bike riding activities. The study's experts believe that knowing the perceived explanations for lack of exercise can help to determine future community planning. Encouraging restaurant and store owners to offer healthier fare would also help these communities.
Right now Walk the Ozarks to Wellness is an ongoing intervention effort partnering with local health agencies and health professionals to implement promotions like fun walks, walking clubs, charity walks. Also offered is a health newsletter - all in an effort to avert the ongoing obesity and associated diabetes epidemics especially hitting rural America. As one expert put it, "make healthy choices the easy choices so we reduce the risk of obesity."
Published On: December 22, 2008