Research Objective: This paper examines the current literature on obesity among women living in the Appalachian region and looks at factors contributing to obesity in this area.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted of research published between 1989 and 2009 regarding the research on obesity among women living in the Appalachian region. This review included both urban and rural Appalachian settings. The search used four electronic databases: CINAHL, ERIC, Medline, and Academic Search Premier. The key search terms included: Appalachian region, women, obesity, and mortality. Eight studies met the criteria for our review.
Results: The research suggests that both rural and urban Appalachian women report a lack of regular physical activity, and many are at high risk for obesity, which contributes to the high mortality rates in this group. In addition, obesity, poverty, low educational attainment, and cultural norms are associated in this group.
Conclusions: In Appalachia, cultural influences handed down for generations are more significant than the urban or rural environment in influencing obesity. To decrease the prevalence of obesity among Appalachian women, nurses need to develop, community-based interventions that take into account the income and health literacy needs of these women.
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