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Studies examine differences in demographics, urban vs. rural rates of obesity in US

June 19, 2018

BottomLine: Two studies used national survey data to examine differences in rates of obesity and severe obesity among children, teens and adults based on demographic factors (including sex, age, race, education) and whether people lived in urban or rural areas of the United States. The studies by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service analyzed measured weight and height for participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative survey of the U.S population.

What: An analysis of data for 6,863 children and teens (ages 2 to 19) suggests rates of severe obesity were higher in rural areas than large urban areas. Rates of obesity showed similar patterns, but weren't statistically significant. Higher rates of obesity and severe obesity were associated with older age and a lower level of head-of-household education, and more common among non-Hispanic black and Hispanic youth compared with non-Hispanic white youth.


Analysis of data for 10,792 adults (20 and older) suggests rates of severe obesity (defined as a body mass index [BMI] at or above 40) were higher in rural areas than large urban areas, and rates for obesity (defined as BMI at or above 30) showed similar patterns.


Authors: Cynthia L. Ogden, Ph.D., U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hyattsville, Maryland, and coauthors

Want to embed a link to these studies in your story? Links will be live at the embargo time. Here's the link to the study including children and teens:

Here's the link to the study including adults:

To Learn More: The full studies are available on the For The Media website.
Editor's Note: Please see the articles for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


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