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Health disparities in rural America: Chronic conditions


 

FROM MMWR SURVEILLANCE SUMMARIES

Among rural adults, multiple chronic health conditions are most common in non-Hispanic blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) and least common among Asians and Native Hawaiians/other Pacific Islanders (NHOPIs), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Number of chronic conditions in rural adults, 2013 and 2015
Pooled data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 2013 and 2015 showed that 40.3% of blacks and AI/ANs living in rural counties reported having two or more chronic conditions. Non-Hispanic whites were next with a 37.8% prevalence of multiple conditions, followed by Hispanics at 27.4% and Asians and NHOPIs at 23.2%, CDC investigators reported (MMWR Surveill Summ. 2017;66[23]:1-9).

The order was reversed for adults reporting no chronic conditions: Asians and NHOPIs at 61.8%, Hispanics at 49.2%, whites at 37.8%, blacks at 35.4%, and AI/ANs at 34.0%, the researchers said.

For the chronic health conditions included separately in the report, blacks had the highest rate (45.9%) and Asians and NHOPIs had the lowest rate (15.5%) of obesity; AI/ANs were most likely (23.2%) and Asians and NHOPIs were least likely (5.8%) to report depressive disorder. Other conditions considered in the estimates were myocardial infarction; coronary heart disease; stroke; hypertension; asthma; skin cancer; other types of cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; kidney disease; some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia; and diabetes. Estimates for 2014 were not included because data for hypertension were not available, the investigators noted.

Of the 3,143 counties categorized by the National Center for Health Statistics’ Urban-Rural Classification Scheme for Counties, a total of 1,325 were considered rural and included 6.1% of the U.S. population, they said.

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