5 Causes of Death More Common in Rural America

January 13, 2017 09:56 AM
First aid kit

There are a million ways to die. But for rural Americans, there are five causes of death in particular that are more common than their urban counterparts, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control.

“This new study shows there is a striking gap in health between rural and urban Americans,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden. “To close this gap, we are working to better understand and address the health threats that put rural Americans at increased risk of early death.”

This report is part of a newly included rural health series in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality weekly report. CDC reports these five causes of deaths are disproportionate in rural America:

  1. Heart disease
  2. Cancer
  3. Unintentional injuries
  4. Chronic lower respiratory disease (emphysema)
  5. Stroke

About 15% (46 million) of the U.S. population live in rural areas. According to the CDC, rural Americans are on average older and sicker than their urban counterparts, with higher rates of cigarette smoking, rates of high blood pressure and obesity. They report less “leisure time” physical activity and use seatbelts at lower rates.

Rural residents also have higher rates of poverty, lower access to healthcare and are less likely to have health insurance.

“We have seen increasing rural-urban disparities in life expectancy and mortality emerge in the past few years. CDC’s focus on these critical rural health issues comes at an important time,” according to Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Acting Administrator Jim Macrae.

CDC encourages rural healthcare providers to screen patients for high blood pressure, increase cancer prevention and early detection, encourage physical activity and healthy eating, promote smoking cessation and other activities that can help curb more preventable deaths in rural America.

For more information on current rural health initiatives, visit www.hrsa.gov/ruralhealth/

Back to news



Spell Check

Sharon Black
Smith Center, KS
1/15/2017 11:09 AM

  Go to a rural town and see where everyone is eating out at- the fast food places.

Lincoln, NE
1/15/2017 02:24 PM

  Growing up in rural farm life in Nebraska, I have known many neighbors and friends who have lived long productive lives with proper diets as mother had produced garden vegetables and fruits she processed for our family, plenty of physical activities (dad made sure there field and yard work all yearlong), positive attitudes, strong spiritual beliefs and necessary rest and sleep. I am blessed to having my 93 year young father who is still living on his farm with my 87 year old mother. They have experienced struggles of weather factors, crop failures, low grain and livestock prices and other issues on the farm. Agriculture is a dangerous occupation for all ages from youth to elderly individuals. Each day there were dangerous activities yet at a very young age dad explained to my siblings to "take care and be careful". Tractor rollovers, pto shaft shields not in place, equipment problems, slow moving emblems, livestock handling practices, ATV accidents, grain bin entrapments, rural roadway hazards and farm stress leading to health issues are just a few of the rural population concerns. With the current economic factors can become behavioral health factors farmers/ranchers and families have to address. Rural and agriculture life can be a blessing that I wished more individuals could experience.


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer