A national study in the Journal of Rural Health of nearly 10,000 Americans showed that Americans who lived in the country were 20 percent more likely to be obese than people living in cities. The biggest difference was seen in young adults age 20 to 39.
Why are city people skinnier? Most researchers attribute it to lifestyle differences. Young people in cities tend to walk more, mostly because they’re forced to: climbing stairs to public transit, standing on busses and subways. They have to carry home most of what they buy. Many climb two or more flights of stairs a day just to get into their apartment. Combine that with easy access to gyms and a huge variety in healthy grocery shopping and despite being farther from nature, they may just be healthier.
“From the outside looking in, you say, ‘Oh, they [rural communities] don’t need a park, they have the woods. But the woods can be as much of a deterrent to being physically active as a freeway, depending on how you look at it,” said Barbara McCahan, director of the Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities at Plymouth State University.
People may be anxious about going hiking or biking in wilderness areas, making working out alone a challenge if they don’t have access to a gym. In the country where stores and even other houses are miles apart, getting to the gym and getting enough exercise in their daily lives is a huge challenge for the 70 million people who live in rural America. Who would have thought the woods could be more dangerous than city streets?
Are you living the country life, or making it in the city? Comment and tell me how you work fitness into your daily life.