Wash. U. Study: Buffet + No Exercise = Fat

Jan 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm
File this one under I Gotta Get Me One of Those Government Grants: A new study by a Washington University professor, funded by the NIH and the CDC and published in the December issue of the journal Preventive Medicine, found, according to a Wash. U. press release, "people who eat out often at buffets and cafeterias and who perceive their community to be unpleasant for physical activity are more likely to be obese."


What other conclusions did the study, which conducted phone interviews with 1,258 residents of rural towns in Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee, reach? "Those with a high school education or less reported limited access to fruits and vegetables and were more likely to shop at convenience stores."


All snarkiness aside, the study does make the point that one of the main impediments to improving health in rural areas -- and I'd venture to guess in suburban and urban areas, too -- is the lack of "attractive" outlets for physical activity.
"Although obesity rates are higher in rural areas, this is one of the first studies to look at food choices and exercise in this population," says Alicia Casey, first author of the paper and now a doctoral student in health communications at Penn State University. "Determining how much these factors increase the risk of obesity in rural areas can help us determine methods to help this group."

[Ross Brownson, Ph.D., senior author of the study and a professor at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University] points out that a lot of travel planning focuses on how to increase the numbers of automobiles on our roadways, not on how to make travel friendly by foot or bicycle.
What's especially sad is that  our food system has become so utterly debased that people who live in rural communities are so far removed from fresh produce.