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People living in rural areas are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, and unintentional injuries than their urban counterparts.
The top five causes of death accounted for more than 1.5 million deaths in the United States in 2014. This figure accounts for 62% of all the deaths in the country at that time. Among those living in rural areas, over 70,000 of these deaths were preventable, The Washington Post reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that of the preventable deaths, 25,000 individuals died from heart disease and 19,000 died from cancer.
Latinos face even higher risks of cardiovascular 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.
In order to reduce health disparities, it is critical to address inequities in programs, practices, and policies. Join our site, connect with others, and get involved.
“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 Washington 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.”
Almost 15% of U.S. citizens live in rural areas, and these people – nearly 46 million – tend to be older, less economically stable, and in poorer health than urban Americans. There are higher rates of cigarette smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure among this group.
Studies also found that rural Americans have lower rates of physical activity and often do not use seat belts, increasing their risks of fatalities in car accidents. Access to health care services are less available in rural areas, as well.
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).
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