Rural vs. city body shapes
A new study reveals that nearly 40 percent of rural adults in the U.S. are obese, whereas 33 percent of people living in a city are obese.
I would have thought the opposite. Living in rural areas of the country surrounds a person with miles and miles of open land. The city dwellers are limited with the area around them. More land does not mean more activity.
In the past the opposite was true. Rural folks worked harder on farms and in gardens. They walked more and worked harder. Those living in town had more conveniences and fewer opportunities to use their muscles.
Kitchen tables in the country were filled with high-calorie foods to supply the energy to work hard all day. City kitchens required carrying groceries from a store and this often limited supplies.
Studies show that rural food intake includes more fat. City eaters have less fat in their daily diet. An ounce of fat provides more calories than an ounce of protein or carbohydrate food. More than twice the calories come from the same amount of fat as the other nutrients.
Physical activity, or the lack of it, is not the only issue in this story. Legacy, tradition and habit play a huge part in the obesity issue.
Researchers reveal that a person’s circle of friends influences weight. If the folks that one associates are relatively thin, most likely most everyone will be thin. If a person spends a lot of time with obese people, even the thinnest person will not realize that they are gaining weight because relatively, they are still thin compared to their friends.
Returning to the issue of rural versus city people, currently the people that live in rural areas do not work like grandpa and grandma used to work. Although, they still eat like they do. Grandma still puts fat-laden high calorie comfort foods on the table and pressures relatives to eat even before their hat and coat is on the hanger.
This has to stop to change the weight status of rural people. But don’t go blaming Grandma on the state of obesity in rural communities. Living in less populated areas allows a person to actually get more exercise. If Grandma isn’t going to change, remember, those boots were made for walking.
This week I pulled out a pair of jeans from my fall and winter wardrobe that have been in hiding since the spring. This is usually my test to determine my body weight and shape since I do not own a scale. My goal is that one fall day, my last year’s jeans will easily glide on and the button will snap without a fight.
I live in a rural county. Last week I not only pulled on last year’s jeans with ease, but I found a five dollar bill in the pocket. Whoo-Hoo! My goal this season is to prove the researchers wrong. Weight control doesn’t have anything to do with where you live, who your friends are or who your Grandma happens to be.
Weight control is a personal responsibility. Food and drink intake along with physical activity is a daily decision. And sometimes you just get lucky enough to find a five dollar bill.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator and a registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Aultman-Orrville Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330–684-4776.