Date of Award

Fall 11-30-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Richard Rothenberg


INTRODUCTION: The prevalence of obesity and overweight is continuously on the rise in the United States. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development projections, obesity levels are expected to rise to 47% in 2030. Being obese or overweight increases the risk of chronic diseases, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Fruit and vegetable intake are known to be beneficial in reducing risks for cardiovascular disease and cancer. There is extensive research showing a health disparity between urban and rural areas, where BMI levels are much higher in rural areas compared to urban. However, little is known regarding fruit and vegetable intake in rural and urban resident obese individuals. Hence, this study is designed to examine the fruit and vegetable intake differences among the obese and overweight populations in rural and urban Georgia. METHODS: Data were taken from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2015 dataset, for Georgia. A total of 1,233 eligible rural (29.7%) and urban (70.3%) obese/overweight participants responses were recorded and analyzed. Univariate and multivariate techniques were used to analyze specific variables that could potentially contribute to low fruit and vegetable intake. RESULTS: Fruit intake: The multivariate analysis showed that lower education level and medical cost issues were statistically significant variables that are associated with low fruit intake in rural areas. Sex, physical activity in past month, and smoking status were the statistically significant variables that are associated with low fruit intake in urban areas. Vegetable intake: The multivariate regression analysis of vegetable intake showed that, low vegetable consumption was significantly associated with an income of less than $15,000, and medical cost in rural areas. For urban areas, education, smoking status, and heavy drinker status were significantly associated with low vegetable intake.