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.