"The problem [is that] the earlier studies were based on surveys that asked people to self-report height and weight," UF study author Michael G. Perri told HealthLeaders Media. "The study we did was based on measured heights and weights. One thing we are well aware of is that people tend to underreport their weight and over report their height. Everybody is five to 10 pounds heavier than they report and an inch shorter than they claim."
Obesity is a preventable condition that is linked to any number of serious and expensive-to-treat chronic diseases and other medical conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high-blood pressure, cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, liver and digestive tract complications, and even mental illness.
As the nation's obese population grows larger in size and number—and there is no indication that this trend is reversing—these are all conditions that rural provider will have to contend with more frequency and in numbers disproportionately higher than those of their colleagues in non-rural settings.
"We simply cannot ignore the link between obesity and poverty, and the disproportionate impact this is having on rural America," Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, said on the advocacy group's Web site. "If we truly want to decrease healthcare costs and improve the nation's health status, we are going to have to start viewing obesity as a top-tier public health concern for rural Americans."