MONDAY, June 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The prevalence of obesity is higher among those living in non-metropolitan counties versus metropolitan counties, according to research published in the June 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Elizabeth A. Lundeen, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined state-level 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data to examine the prevalence of obesity in metropolitan versus non-metropolitan counties.

The researchers found that the prevalence of obesity was 34.2 and 28.7 percent among those living in non-metropolitan and metropolitan counties, respectively (P < 0.001). In all U.S. Census regions, the prevalence of obesity was significantly higher among non-metropolitan versus metropolitan county residents, with the largest absolute difference in the South and Northeast (5.6 and 5.4 percent, respectively). Obesity prevalence was significantly higher among persons in non-metropolitan counties than those in metropolitan counties in 24 of 47 states; only in Wyoming was obesity prevalence higher among metropolitan county residents.

“Both metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties can address obesity through a variety of policy and environmental strategies to increase access to healthier foods and opportunities for physical activity,” the authors write.

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