Friday, January 13, 2017

Rates of leading causes of preventable deaths higher in rural areas, esp. in South, Southwest

Rural/urban death rates for stroke. (CDC graphic)
Mortality rates for the five leading causes of potentially preventable deaths—heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke—are higher in rural areas, says a study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rates are particularly high in rural areas in the South and Southwest, led by Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, Lena Sun reports for The Washington Post.

The top five top causes of death "accounted for 62 percent of the total 1.6 million deaths in the U.S. in 2014," Sun writes. "Among rural Americans, more than 70,000 of the deaths were potentially preventable, the study found, including 25,000 from heart disease and 19,000 from cancer."

The study, which looked at deaths in the five areas from 1999-2014, blamed socio-demographic factors for higher death rates in rural areas. Residents of rural areas "tend to be older, poorer, and sicker than their urban counterparts," states the report. Rural residents also report higher rates of limited physical activity because of chronic conditions.

Obesity and smoking rates are often higher in rural areas, while a lack of access to health care and transportation can prevent some rural residents from seeing a doctor, Sun writes. Drug overdoses and vehicular deaths, categorized under unintentional injury, also are often higher in rural areas, while seat-belt is lower. (CDC charts; click on image for larger version)

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