Study: Rural kids more likely to be obese

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health

Another study about overweight kids. This one says that children living in rural areas are 25 percent more likely than city kids to be overweight or obese. Researchers at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford reached this conclusion after reviewing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data on 46,000 children.

Dr. Martin Lipsky, a co-author of the study, says he doesn't know for sure why this is, but he does speculate on a few theories. "Rural children may have less access to healthier foods. There may be a fast-food restaurant in small towns, but not other types of restaurants. They may lack diversity in fresh fruits and vegetables in their markets. Sometimes there is less opportunity for physical activity like sports, a sidewalk to walk on or even having to park far away from an event and walk," he said.

This seems counter intuitive to me. Aren't fresh fruits and vegetables are grown in rural America? And maybe I am wrong, but I always assumed it was us city kids who didn't spend enough time outdoors moving around. While the findings of this study may be valid, I think there is a lot more work to be done in determining just why it is so.

I will posit my own theory, based on my own experiences. Both of my parents grew up in rural Arkansas. They had very different family situations, but one thing they had in common in their homes was really, really good food. Both my grandmothers could cook like nobody's business and they served up large portions of this deliciousness every day without fail. Family meals were a big deal and people tended to over-indulge. Could this rural obesity simply be the result of too much good cooking?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.