|North Carolina Health News graphic|
"The authors, who work mostly out of the CDC’s Office of Minority Health & Health Equity, found that rural white populations have better access to health providers than minorities. They also found that members of minority populations living in rural areas tended to be younger than the white residents, with lower incomes and less education," Taylor Knopf reports for North Carolina Health News.
Self-reported information for 2012-15 from rural residents revealed that rural minorities were more likely to report having "fair" or "poor" health instead of "good" health, more likely to say they were obese, less likely to see a doctor during the past year because of the cost, and less likely to report having a regular doctor.
Rural whites were more likely to identify themselves as current smokers, and more likely to report binge drinking in the past month. Janice Probst, head of the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center and professor at the University of South Carolina, told Knopf that lower levels of drinking and smoking among rural African Americans likely stem from greater adherence to religious denominations that frown on drinking and smoking.
Other problems specific populations face: Rural blacks were more likely to have heart disease and strokes, while tuberculosis was more prevalent among Asian Americans. Hispanics struggle more than other minorities to find a regular source of health care. American Indians and Alaskans have higher rates of suicide than other rural demographics.
The study's authors recommend "stratifying data by different demographics, using community health needs assessments, and adopting and implementing the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services Standards" to help rural communities identify disparities and develop effective initiatives to eliminate them.