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Study finds that low-income women living in small cities have higher chance of obesity
Date:3/9/2010

ilable differed in the metropolitan, micropolitan and rural areas. Rural low-income women had 74 percent fewer supermarkets and 55 percent fewer small grocery stores available within a 1-mile radius as compared to women in metropolitan areas. Yet the number of convenience stores per 10,000 residents was highest in rural areas.

The researchers also looked at how the availability of different food stores contributed to area residents' obesity. They found that the availability and density of food stores was not associated with obesity in metropolitan and rural areas. However, contrary to previous studies, the findings showed that the presence of a supermarket is not protective against obesity for women in these areas. Women who resided in micropolitan areas in Kansas had an 18 percent increase in obesity risk when living within a 1-mile radius of a supermarket. The presence of small grocery and convenience stores also was associated with an increased risk of obesity.

Dzewaltowski said the findings indicate that the choice of supermarkets may be a more relevant issue than the availability of supermarkets. The findings also suggest that most of the low-income women reside within the urban cluster of the micropolitan areas and are likely to be exposed to multiple fast food restaurants and other high-caloric density eating opportunities, which are often absent in rural areas.

The researchers said policies that increase the accessibility of healthful foods at small grocery stores might be a promising strategy for reducing the higher prevalence of obesity in rural areas.


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Contact: David Dzewaltowski
dadx@k-state.edu
785-532-6765
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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