Published On: Thu, Feb 2nd, 2012

Analysis: More farmer’s markets = lower obesity rates

By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.

ONE FEATHER STAFF

 

                An independent analysis of USDA data has concluded that there are three times the amount of farmer’s markets in areas of the United States with the lowest obesity rates. 

                “To produce the analysis, March 2011 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on market locations throughout the United States were mapped and correlated with county-aggregated obesity statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” Gretchen Peterson, of Peterson GIS, who conducted the analysis, wrote in an article. 

                Obesity rates are broken down into four categories based on the percentage of the population aged 20 or older that have a BMI (body mass index) of 30 or higher including: Category 1 (12-25%), Category 2 (25-30%), Category 3 (30-35%) and Category 4 (35-45%). 

                According to the analysis, those in Category 1 had a farmer’s market rate by area of .26 percent compared to those in Category 4 who only had a rate of .08 percent. 

                “Cherokee needs growers who are interested in selling their produce,” said Sarah McClellan-Welch, agriculture extension agent with EBCI Cooperative Extension.  “The Cherokee public wants fresh-from-the-farm foods and is willing to pay for it.  ‘Locally grown’ has ranked more desirable to our community members than ‘organic’ in two difference Community Needs Assessment surveys conducted by EBCI Cooperative Extension in 2004 and Cherokee Choices in 2010.” 

                “This year, already, there are requests from three different sites for farmer’s markets,” she said.  “The Cherokee Indian Hospital staff, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel staff and our Handmade, Homemade, Home-Grown Market all want Cherokee-grown produce vendors.” 

                According to CDC data from 2008, Swain County reported the highest percentage of adult obesity at 32 percent.  Jackson County reported 29.7 percent.   For the same year, Swain County reported 10.8 percent of adults had been diagnosed with diabetes, and Jackson County reported 10.2 percent.

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