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Latinos and others living in rural areas are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, and unintentional injuries than their urban counterparts.
These top-five causes of death account for 62% of all U.S. deaths.
Among those living in rural areas, over 70,000 of these deaths were preventable, The Washington Post reports on a CDC study, including 25,000 individuals who died from heart disease and 19,000 who died from cancer.
Although just 15% of the U.S. population is considered rural, they tend to be older, in poorer health, have less income and healthcare, and weight more, smoke more, and have higher blood pressure than the urban population, the Post reports.
Latinos face even higher risks of heart diseases because of the disparities in high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes compared to whites. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Latinos, accounting for 22% of all deaths.
“Rural America is where Americans are most in need of health care services yet often have the fewest options available,” said Alan Morgan, chief executive of the National Rural Health Association in an interview with the Post. “When the federal government tries to address health disparities, it usually focuses on large population areas where they can get the most bang for the federal dollar. And that leaves vast areas of America without a federal or state partnership on ensuring access to care.”
According to the CDC study, rural parts of the southeastern and southwestern United States have the highest number of potentially preventable deaths, including the heavily Latino-populated states of Florida (23.72% Latino population), New Mexico (47.36% Latino population), and Texas (38.42% Latino population).
What can be done?
Visit and get involved with Salud America!, a network that features research and role models on healthy changes for rural and urban Latino children across the country.
Also, the new CDC research could help rural healthcare providers bridge gaps.
“Measures could include more comprehensive screening for high blood pressure and cancer, plus increased efforts to get residents to quit smoking and wear seat belts,” according to the Washington Post. “They said providers in rural areas should also follow CDC guidelines to use more caution and consider alternatives before prescribing highly addictive narcotic painkillers.”
Explore More:Healthcare Access
By The Numbers
of Latinos remain without health insurance coverage