Obesity and health status in rural, urban, and suburban southern women

South Med J. 2002 Jul;95(7):666-71.


Background: Obesity has reached epidemic proportions over the past 20 years.

Methods: This study investigated the differences in rates of obesity and perceptions of health status between rural, urban, and suburban Southern women based on selected socioeconomic factors. Using data from a national health survey, the reports from 4,391 women aged 40 to 64 years were included in the study.

Results: Significantly more rural women lived in poverty, reported a poorer health status, and had a greater prevalence of obesity. Urban women had the next highest obesity rate and a moderate health status. The healthiest group with the lowest obesity and poverty rates were suburban women.

Conclusion: Obesity and poor overall health are closely related in rural women. The greatest challenge to health care providers is to provide appropriate community-based weight-management programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Poverty
  • Rural Health
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology
  • Southwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Suburban Health
  • Urban Health