Obesity and Health Status in Rural, Urban, and Suburban Southern Women

Document Type


Publication Date



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.