Thursday, February 9, 2017

CDC release rural and urban health behavior survey

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released a surveillance summary in this week’s CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on health-related behaviors by urban-rural county classifications. This is the first report to document urban and rural differences in the United States regarding prevalence of selected Healthy People 2020 health-related behaviors, using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Key points in the MMWR report include:
  • About one in 4 adults (27 percent) living in rural areas engaged in at least 4 of 5 health-related behaviors (sufficient sleep, current nonsmoking, nondrinking or moderate drinking, maintaining normal body weight, and meeting aerobic leisure time physical activity recommendations) known to prevent chronic disease compared to 1 in 3 (32 percent) of adults in urban areas.
  • Adults in rural counties had the lowest prevalence of current nonsmoking (75%), maintaining normal body weight (29%), and meeting aerobic leisure time physical activity recommendations (47%) and the highest prevalence of nondrinking or moderate drinking (69%) compared with those in urban counties. 
  • Just over 46 million persons (15% of the total U.S. population) reside in the 63% of counties that are classified as either micropolitan or rural.
Having information for smaller and different geographical areas, such as provided in this study, is vitally important to inform public health efforts. Communities, public health professionals, and health care provers can implement evidence-based strategies to increase the likelihood of rural populations adopting health-related behaviors known to prevent leading chronic diseases and causes of death.

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