Speed Reads

health alert

Obesity is on the rise in rural communities worldwide

All over the world, technology is improving. Cars, running water, electricity, and other modern conveniences are spreading to more and more communities — and these changes bring a lot of benefits. But there are also some disadvantages, as one new study found.

The study, published in Nature on Wednesday, showed that people in rural areas contribute significantly to the global rise in obesity. While "the prevailing belief" is that urban areas are hotbeds for weight gain and sedentary habits, The Verge reported, the truth is that more than 55 percent of the rise in obesity from 1985 to 2017 came from rural areas.

Much of the rise has come from places with "emerging economies," The Verge explained, such as Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. While rural communities in developed countries have long had high obesity rates, the rest of the world is, unfortunately, catching up.

This data supports the changing of initiatives for global health. In addition to addressing issues like malnutrition, scientists are calling for a shift in attention to high-quality of food and the importance of exercise. "We have to think outside the box a little," said Sherry Pagoto, a professor of health sciences at the University of Connecticut. Obesity initiatives, instead of trying to apply the same methods worldwide, should be tailored to the needs of the community, whether urban or rural, she argues. Learn more at The Verge.