Skip to main content

Focus on Health Issues

Rural populations experience health disparities in the following areas:

  • Chronic diseases: Rural populations typically have worse nutrition, physical activity, and obesity compared to urban populations. Rural residents access prevention services, such as regular medical exams, blood pressure screening, cholesterol checks, pap tests, and mammograms, less frequently than they should.
  • Oral health: Poor oral health is related to a range of diseases in adults and children. Despite the importance of oral health and developments in knowledge and practice in this area, rural communities experience disparities in oral health access, utilization, and outcomes.
  • Perinatal health: Pregnant women in rural areas typically obtain fewer prenatal healthcare services compared to women in urban areas. Rural women also have less adequate and less timely prenatal care. They experience higher maternal mortality rates, have a larger number of children, and experience higher fetal death rates.
  • Tobacco: Residents of rural communities are more likely to use tobacco products, to start using them at a younger age, to use tobacco products more heavily, and to be exposed to secondhand smoke at work and at home than their urban counterparts.