Since 1975, global rates of obesity have almost tripled. Usually, city life is being blamed for obesity; however, a recent study shows that about 112 million adults say rural areas’ weight gain is a major reason for global obesity rise. An international group of health scientists- Members of the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration studies the BMI (Body Mass Index) of about 2000 people. They observed how the BMI of people across the world has eventually changed from 1985 to 2017. This study showed that more than 55% of BMI rise has been of people from rural areas. It is especially the case in places like Asia, Latin America and the Middle East countries, where the economies are emerging currently. Majid Ezzati, a co-author of the study and an expert in global environmental health, said that BMI has been rising at a faster level in rural areas and not the urban areas.
The belief that people in rural areas don’t gain weight like people in cities is no more truth. It was an understanding that rural population doesn’t gain weight as they do more physical labor, eat fresh and healthier and less unprocessed foods. However, the scenario seems to be changed after the rural areas are industrialized. Now, people in rural areas don’t need to walk for miles to fetch water as they have running water. Because there are roads, they don’t walk much. Nowadays most people in rural areas have vehicles to travel. These lifestyle changes are responsible for less movement and less physical activities resulting in overall weight gain.
Rural areas are also becoming wealthier. People can now afford to buy more food. They are eating the same processed foods as available in the cities. As their physical activity is also reduced, obesity is on the rise. This recent study confirms that in industrialized and developing countries, the rural population has higher BMI and obesity rates as compared to urban areas. Many efforts are being taken for malnutrition. But the need of hour shows that it is necessary to focus on raising awareness of healthy eating and more activity.