A team of researchers discovered that those who live in rural areas across the country might benefit from poorer health care, thus nonmetropolitan areas accounting for an increased number of individuals that succumb to the five leading causes of death.
Federal data compiled in recent years suggests that rural and nonmetropolitan U.S. regions experienced an increased number of excess deaths and higher age-adjusted death rates. The results were based on information gathered between 1999 and 2014 by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Excess deaths refer to the number of additional individuals who die before reaching the age of 80 than researchers would have expected. According to a news release, the excess deaths national benchmark was calculated by averaging the lowest death rates in three states over the course of two years, more precisely from 2008 to 2010.
During the study period, the researchers identified five leading causes of death applicable for both rural, as well as metropolitan areas. Hence, unintentional injury, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and chronic lower respiratory disease accounted for approximately 1,600,00 deaths in 2014. In percentage points, the leading causes of death accounted for roughly 62 percent of all deaths recorded in 2014.
According to the National Vital Statistics System, approximately half of the excess deaths in rural areas of the U.S were associated with chronic lower respiratory disease and unintentional injury. At the same time, however, in metropolitan regions, only 39 percent of the total deaths were linked to unintentional injury, and 31 percent individuals died from chronic lower respiratory disease.
One potential explanation for this could be the fact that people living in rural areas have limited access to health care and are more prone to injure themselves performing life-threatening activities. Nevertheless, the researchers did not rule out the possibility that people living in nonmetropolitan areas succumb to other factors that increase their risk of death, such as not exercising enough, carrying excess weight, not wearing a seatbelt, or smoking cigarettes. Ultimately, the report stated that people living in rural areas exhibit poorer physical health, as well as mental health, as opposed to individuals living in metropolitan areas across the U.S.
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