Research Paper Obesity

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It was thought that the levels of physical activity in rural areas were much higher than those in cities, and hence that the likelihood of weight gain was much smaller in rural than in urban populations.

Research has shown that in some low-income countries, such as China, people living in urban areas have diets that are distinctly different from those of their rural counterparts.

Many low-income communities in urban areas consume predominantly ultra-processed foods and beverages sold at fast-food and small retail outlets, often because they live in so-called ‘food deserts’—low-income areas where these are the only available foods.

Rural areas, on the other hand, have been seen as a different type of food desert, where people mainly consume produce from their own farms and gardens, and have less access to ultra-processed and packaged food.

Several fiscal and regulatory approaches can reach rural areas globally.

These range from programmes that combine comprehensive marketing controls, school-food controls and labels on ultra-processed foods, such as those instituted in Chile, to the taxation of unhealthy ultra-processed foods and beverages, as in Mexico.This is likely to be linked to the fact that rural areas in LMICs have begun to resemble urban areas, because the modern food supply is now available in combination with cheap mechanized devices for farming and transport.Ultra-processed foods are becoming part of the diets of poor people in these countries, and there are reports that infants are even being fed with these foods.We use cookies and similar technologies to improve your browsing experience, personalize content and offers, show targeted ads, analyze traffic, and better understand you.We may share your information with third-party partners for marketing purposes.This cookie stores just a session ID; no other information is captured.Accepting the NEJM cookie is necessary to use the website.The global problem of overweight and obesity has been seen chiefly as an urban issue, partly because access to food services is much greater and easier in cities than in rural areas.City dwellers have an array of options for purchasing highly processed foods and beverages, which are high in salt, saturated fat and sugar, and which are often termed ‘ultra-processed obesogenic foods’.These are national programmes that require national legislation and are being implemented in an increasing number of LMICs.However, countries must coordinate multiple regulatory and fiscal programmes similar to those in Chile to truly have an impact on people’s behaviour.

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