The Relationship of Income, Density, and Commuting Times on Overweight/Obesity Rates in North Carolina

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Selima Sultana, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: A major health problem that is increasing at an alarming rate in the state of North Carolina is obesity (NCDHHS, 2005). The preventable health costs for obesity have been rising all across the nation and account for $117 billion annually in direct ($61 billion) and indirect ($56 billion) medical costs (USDHHS. 2003). Even more alarming is that physical inactivity results in 400,000 preventable deaths in the United States each year and is steadily gaining on smoking as the number one cause of preventable deaths. It is estimated that about three out of every five Americans carry an unhealthy amount of excess weight. The number of adults that are reported as being obese in North Carolina has increased by eighty two percent from 1990 to 2002 (CDC, 2002). Approximately two-thirds of the adult population was overweight or obese in 2004, which is about 120,000 more adults than the year before (NCDHHS, 2005). In the same period the median household income of North Carolina has risen from $26,329 to $36,515 (US Census Bureau, 2000). Because obesity is commonly associated with minority and low income populations (Jeffery and French, 1996; Frank et. al., 2004), this dramatic increase in obesity during a decade of economic growth and rising income is surprising. This suggests that obesity is related to other factors, including those linked to increasing household incomes.

Additional Information

Papers and Proceedings of the Applied Geography Conference, Vol. 28, pp. 254–263
Language: English
Date: 2005
obesity, public health, North Carolina, transportation, socioeconomic status

Email this document to