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.

Click here to read the full report.