With the dawn of the new century, the US has been witnessing drastic rise in severe obesity rates. Two studies in the US have suggested that the severe obesity rates exert disproportionate influence on adults and children in rural communities.

The researchers reviewed data related to height and weight for adults of 20 years age or older and youth in the age group of 2-19 years that were acquired in the period between 2001 and 2016. According to the report of the researchers in JAMA, severe obesity rates were found to be higher in rural communities for youth as well as adult men and women and the overall obesity rates were higher in the case of rural women. In the course of the study period, it was found that severe obesity rates were more than doubled for women and more than tripled for men with a rise of 29% observed in the case of young people. The rates of obesity in rural areas were also found to be increased by margins of 36% for adults and almost 9% in the case of children and teenagers.

According to CynthiaOgden of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Hyattsville, Maryland, the most significant finding from the study was the demarcation between obesity and severe obesity. Ogden served as the senior author for the adult study and lead author for the youth study in the research. She also stated that severe obesity poses formidable threats to the quality of life alongside implying notable health risks such as cancer and increased chances of premature death.

It is also imperative to note that the differences in racial demographics, smoking status, education levels and age did not provide any valid explanation for the varying rates of obesity and severe obesity in adults. Obesity and severe obesity have been found to be a common occurrence in the case of Hispanic and black youth as compared to white teenagers and children. Therefore, the scope of future research in this context has to be directed along identification of the constraints that place individuals in rural communities at higher risks of severe obesity.

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