More than 1,000 people in the Ottumwa area took part in a health survey conducted last year by the UI’s Prevention Research Center for Rural Health. The survey results show several interrelated community concerns, including food security, obesity, and lack of physical activity.
“We used the survey to identify where issues were,” said researcher Barbara Baquero, assistant professor of community and behavioral health in the UI College of Public Health. “It pointed to obesity, and now that’s supported by the data. But it’s a multi-faceted problem. When a person is obese, they’re prone to chronic health problems. They’re usually not the ones who are engaging in physical activity. And it’s nutritional: Where are they going to eat? Are they cooking at home? There are so many facets to the problem.”