More than a third of rural children aged 10-17 are overweight, and rural children in large rural areas — places where populations range between 10,000 and 50,000 people — are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions than other American children, according to a new study from the Health & Human Services. The study, which surveyed U.S. parents in 2007, found that children in rural areas face a variety of specific health risks, including obesity, living with a smoker, more time spent watching television each day and less access to breastfeeding as babies.
There were positive signs for rural children, though; the survey found they were more likely to share meals with their families every day in a given week and participate in daily physical activity when compared with their urban counterparts.
The survey also found:
- 84 percent of children are reported by their parents to be in good or excellent health, regardless of where they live. The rate was slightly below 80 percent in rural areas.
- 90 percent of all children have access to health insurance.
- The percentage of children reported to have excellent or very good oral health ranged from 69 to 71.1 percent.
- The rate of obesity for children in poverty was roughly twice that for children with household incomes of four times the federal poverty level or more.