A new study has said that the availability of supermarkets, rather than the lack of them, increases the risk of obesity for low-income women living in small cities.
To reach the conclusion, K-State researchers studied the availability of food stores for low-income women in Kansas to see whether there was a link to obesity.
The findings showed that limited availability of grocery stores did not contribute to an increased risk of obesity in metropolitan or rural areas, but it was associated with an increased risk of obesity in micropolitan areas in Kansas, defined as cities with fewer than 40,000 people.
"This study was one of the first to look at supermarket availability across the urban-rural continuum, and the findings suggest that policies to increase healthful food availability may eed to differ depending on urban influence," said David Dzewaltowski, K-State professor and department head of kinesiology.
Dzewaltowski and Paula Ford, assistant professor of public health sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso, published the study in the January issue of Obesity, a research journal. Ford ed the project as a doctoral student at K-State.