Americans living in rural areas are dying more frequently from preventable causes.
That is according to a new report from the CDC, which included eight years of national health data.
It showed people living in the most rural counties were more likely to die from preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and COPD than their urban peers.
The gap in the percentages of preventable deaths between rural and urban counties widened over the study period and was the highest in the southeast.
In 2014, many deaths among rural Americans were potentially preventable, including 25,000 from heart disease, 19,000 from cancer, 12,000 from unintentional injuries, 11,000 from chronic lower respiratory disease, and 4,000 from a stroke.
Some 46 million Americans — 15 percent of the U.S. population — currently live in rural areas.
Several demographic, environmental, economic, and social factors might put rural residents at higher risk of death from these public health conditions.
Residents of rural areas in the United States tend to be older and sicker than their urban counterparts. They have higher rates of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Rural residents report less leisure-time physical activity and lower seat belt use than their urban counterparts. They also have higher rates of poverty, less access to healthcare, and are less likely to have health insurance.
The CDC recommends routine tracking of potentially excess deaths by urban-rural county classification might help public health departments and decision-makers identify and monitor public health problems and focus interventions on reducing potentially excess deaths in these areas.
You can learn more about the report here.