|Rural/urban death rates for stroke. (CDC graphic)|
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)