Background: People encounter a variety of barriers that impact their ability to eat a healthy diet. Because of the higher obesity rates and poorer health status in rural adults, attention is needed on examining the gaps in knowledge about healthy eating barriers in rural adults.
Purpose: The purpose of this manuscript was to describe what is known about barriers to healthy eating in both rural and urban adults. The social ecological model was used as a framework using individual, interpersonal, organizational, and community factors to organize barriers to healthy eating.
Methods: Forty-two studies were found that discussed barriers to healthy eating in adults. Of these, 14 were conducted solely in rural settings, 2 in mixed rural and urban settings and the remaining 26 studies done in urban settings.
Results: The impact of barriers unique to rural settings is not well understood as the majority of studies found were conducted in urban settings. Barriers that rural adults face that may contribute to their greater occurrence of obesity were higher cost of healthy foods, lack of time, lack of social support, work issues and lack of access to grocery stores.
Conclusion: More research is needed to provide a greater understanding of the unique challenges rural people face and how to eliminate barriers to maintaining a healthy diet.
Keywords: barriers, healthy eating, rural, obesity
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share (for non-commerical purposes) the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).