Grant to help UF study obesity in North Central Florida

Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.

Rural areas in the U.S. have higher rates of obesity, and the University of Florida recently received a grant to help curb the problem in North Central Florida.

The $3.7 million grant, from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Association, will help launch a study to include 540 men and women in rural areas, between the ages of 21 and 75, with a body mass index between 30 and 45.

“We're trying to find ways to tackle the serious problem of obesity and sedentary lifestyle in rural areas, which typically have little access to programs that promote physical fitness and proper nutrition,” principal investigator Michael Perri, Ph.D., dean of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions, said in a UF news release Wednesday.

In a previous study, Perri and other investigators found that 40 percent of rural adults were obese, compared with 33 percent of urban adults.

Study participants will have four-month group sessions on modifying eating and exercise habits, followed by inclusion in a 12-month treatment program.

The UF study is part of a five-year study called Rural LEAP (Lifestyle, Eating and Activity Program).

For more information on the program, call 877-273-5235, or

- Kristine Crane

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