United News International (UNI)- The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention found severe obesity rates increased significantly in rural communities since 2001.

According to a study published June 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of obese Americans in rural areas increased by nearly 40 percent.

The rate has more than tripled for men and more than doubled for women since the study began.

The study also found that one in every 10 rural children are severely obese.

Obesity is classified as having a body mass index of at least 30, while severe obesity is 40 or higher.

Researchers found the increase in obesity reflects the socioeconomic differences between urban and rural areas.

While the increased obesity rates were clear, the study did not include which aspects of rural life could result in the increase.

Obesity is linked to many other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke.