Health and Wellness Concerns: Rural vs. Urban Populations

November 28, 2022

Many may not be aware that there are significant health disparities between rural and urban Americans. Simply put, rural Americans are at greater risk of poor health outcomes than their urban counterparts.

According to the CDC and as defined by U.S. Census Bureau, roughly 46 million, or 15%, of Americans live in rural areas. To outline the issue, the CDC has conducted a series of studies to draw attention to the gap in health between rural and urban Americans.

Significant statistics the CDC has drawn from these studies show that Rural Americans are more likely than urban Americans to die from the 5 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease, and stroke. In fact, unintentional injury deaths are 50% higher in rural areas than in urban areas, at least partly due to greater risks of death from motor vehicle accidents and opioid overdoses. Generally speaking, people who live in rural areas tend to be older and sicker than urban dwellers.

Children in rural areas with mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders face more community and family challenges than children afflicted by these disorders in urban areas.

Why are rural Americans at greater risk of poor health outcomes? The CDC cites characteristics of rural areas such as:

  • Long travel distances to specialty and emergency care
  • Exposures to specific environmental hazards
  • Higher rates of cigarette smoking
  • More leisure time than the physical activity prevalent in urban areas
  • Lower seatbelt use than urban counterparts

Chronic Conditions

The CDC reports that chronic diseases are the leading causes of death and disability in America. Rural Americans are more likely to die prematurely from major chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease, and chronic lower respiratory disease. The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has been actively working to improve health in rural areas by:

  • Measuring how many Americans have chronic diseases or chronic disease risk factors and reporting data down to the county level.
  • Studying and reporting on rural health disparities and innovative programs to reduce those disparities.
  • Funding and guiding states, territories, and tribes to reach rural populations through proven interventions and innovative programs.
  • Developing programs and promoting care through digital formats, such as online classes or “telehealth” approaches that reduce barriers to health care access for rural residents.

According to Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, adults in rural areas are less likely to be tested for chronic conditions. Small proportions of adults in rural areas are screened for various types of cancer, including prostate, breast, colon, and skin cancer.

Obesity

Studies show that adults living in rural counties are still more likely to be obese than adults in urban counties. Specifically:

  • Obesity prevalence was significantly higher among adults living in rural counties (34.2 percent) than among those living in metropolitan counties (28.7 percent).
  • The greatest differences in prevalence were in the South and Northeast regions.
  • The findings held true for adults in most sociodemographic categories, including age, sex, and household income.

Obesity is a risk factor for many chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some cancers, and arthritis. The main drivers of obesity in rural areas are:

  • Lack of healthy food choices
  • Lack of nutritional education
  • Lack of community planning, including bicycle paths, paved sidewalks, and outdoor public recreation facilities

High Rates of Limitation

In rural areas, 1/3 of adults report that is limited in performing a major activity such as paid work, housework, or school. This is compared to 1/4 of adults in urban areas who report such limitations.

Among adults, larger proportions of rural residents than urban residents report limitations related to social, recreational, or family activities.

As for physical limitations, 14% of rural residents (compared to 9%) or urban residents report a physical limitation such as:

  • Walking 10 steps, 3 blocks, or 1 mile
  • Lifting 10 pounds
  • Standing for 20 minutes
  • Bending or stooping
  • Reaching over their head
  • Using their fingers to grasp

Health Insurance

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “residents of rural counties still lack insurance at higher rates than those living in urban areas. About 12.3 percent of people in completely rural counties lacked health insurance compared with 11.3 percent for mostly rural counties and 10.1 percent for mostly urban counties.”

Risky Behaviors

A study by Indiana University found that from 2010-2020, a larger proportion of rural Americans smoked cigarettes, and their odds of smoking were lower, compared to urban residents.

Smoking prevalence:

  • rural areas: 19.2%
  • urban areas: 14.2%

Quit ratios for smoking:

  • rural areas: 52.9%
  • urban areas: 53.9%

As for alcohol consumption, BMC Public Health found that lifetime prevalence for alcohol consumption differs significantly:

  • rural areas: 97.7%
  • urban areas: 86.6% (large cities); 89.1% (small cities)

Availability of Care and Health Information

The NCBI reported that compared to urban residents, rural residents have lower access to several common sources of healthcare – both primary care providers and specialist doctors.

Rural residents also have less use of search engines for health information, likely due to limited media exposure in those areas.

What Can Workers in Rural Areas do to Reduce Health Risks?

Individuals in rural areas can obtain better healthcare and reduce the risk of health issues by seeking out more preventative care. Further, workers who are exposed to dangerous conditions need to be aware of the importance of preventative care, check-ups, and utilization of their rights.

Workers who are injured on the job should understand the options available to them. Often this can involve consulting with attorneys who can help them secure the right types of specialized treatment they may need.

Examples of high rates of fatal injuries on the job include:

Maritime Workers

Maritime workers often face many dangers in the course of their job duties. Examples of maritime jobs include:

  • Commercial fishing
  • Transportation, including
    • Tugboats
    • Shipping barges
    • Long voyage vessels
  • Oil and gas, including
    • Oil rigs
    • Oil rig service vessels
    • Exploratory vessels

These types of jobs subject workers to severe weather, slippery conditions, and dangerous work.

Workers that are injured on-the-job while out at sea are protected by certain laws, such as general maritime laws and The Jones Act. Exercising your rights under these laws can be complex, so it is important to speak with top-rated Jones Act attorneys at Morrow & Sheppard LLP to determine what types of claims you may have.

Oilfield workers

Oilfield workers often work in rural areas and return home from work to rural areas. Access to high-quality medical treatment is often not available when these workers suffer injuries from dangerous work. Our oilfield accident attorneys know how to quickly evaluate serious injuries and help coordinate a plan for your potential claims.

Construction Workers

Construction accidents occur frequently from dangerous activity, and workers often seek treatment for injuries they sustain from falls, falling objects, heavy equipment, structural issues, crane accidents, and more. Our firm has experience dealing with injuries on construction sites, often from a lack of safety measures and protocols.

Commercial Drivers or Truckers and Other Drivers on the Road

Commercial Drivers spend more time driving than average citizens that use the roads. Auto accidents are extremely common and are exacerbated by overworked drivers, high speeds, and lack of attention.

If you are injured in an auto accident while on the road, either when working or simply driving, it is important to speak with experienced trucking accident attorneys to determine what course of action you should take.

About Morrow & Sheppard LLP

Our experience with many cases has led us to understand the importance of detection and treatment of specific injuries. Some injuries may not be apparent at first and may worsen over time. If you do not visit the right doctors and experts, these injuries can go undiagnosed and untreated. We are experienced in helping our clients find the right doctors and experts to make sure that such conditions are not missed. Our firm has experience representing wonderful clients from rural areas, and we pride ourselves on being able to help those individuals find the specialized treatment they need. If you or a loved one is injured while on the job, contact our lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard for a free consultation.

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00:17 15 Feb 22
I was injured and my business closed down due to an accident in 2016. Daniel Sheppard became my greatest asset. He hired professional experts for their views and opinions as well as conducting numerous depositions. Daniel is hard working and no nonsense when handling your case. Daniel keeps you... informed on what's going on and what to expect. I'm from Louisiana and my case was in Texas. Daniel Sheppard worked alone side my other attorney Yuri Beck, and the both of them did a fantastic job representing me and settling my case. Daniel Sheppard of Morrow & Sheppard in Texas and Yuri Beck of Hunter & Beck in Louisiana are my lawyers for LIFE.read more
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14:24 04 Jan 22
Nick Morrow and John Sheppard were the lead attorneys on my case to hold an apartment complex with inadequate security responsible for the death of my son. The two of them were focused and determined to represent me and my son's children with tenacity. As the case continued over time, it became... apparent that we were not merely clients that were a means to a financial end to them but people who had experienced a life changing and devastating loss. They realized that as a result of our loss, there needed to be accountability that could only be obtained through legal actions. Throughout the legal process, Nick Morrow and John Sheppard were not only professional and transparent but also compassionate and empathetic as they lead us through the difficult and sometimes confusing legal maze. Every person in their office that was involved with our case exemplified an extension of the genuine concern that began with attorneys Morrow and Sheppard. I have and will continue to recommend this firm to individuals who find themselves in need of legal representation.read more
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18:18 23 Nov 21
The legal team at Morrow and Shepherd worked hard to help me win my case where a motorist who caused the accident changed her story and lied about the accident. A previous attorney kept telling me that I would probably have to pay some of the medical costs out of my own pocket.Daniel, my... attorney, assured me that he would it is best to make sure this did not happen and that he would fight to get me the best compensation possible. He was true to his word.I'm happy with their work, happy with the compensation and would definitely use them again.The Legal Assistant, Chris, was always professional, friendly and polite and a pleasure to work with.A big thanks to the team!Donread more
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Don D.
01:52 21 Nov 21
Nick and his group have helped where they can and are working hard to get a resolution to my injuries. I spoke with 4 different law firms prior to choosing Morrow & Sheppard LLP.ThanksJeff
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Jeff N.
19:28 18 Nov 21
My Husband was injured at work, & with not knowing what to do or where to turn.We can say Thanks to John,& Jimenez @ Marrow & Sheppard,that represented my Husband we are very Satisfy & happy with the outcome and would recommend them to any others seeking professional lawyers. thanks to Morrow &... Sheppard.read more
bella L.
bella L.
04:24 22 Sep 21
I was referred to Daniel Sheppard because of a car accident I had been in. I was very impressed with how he told me about the process of how things worked and the things to expect. He was very forth coming and always supportive. The experience was a positive one and ended on a great note! I highly... recommend him.Elizabeth Varonread more
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Elizabeth Swanson V.
01:25 03 Sep 21
Before I engaged John Sheppard, I was concerned that I might lose my case. However, John came onboard, turned things around, and set me on a good course to win. He got up to speed quickly on the facts and determined exactly what we needed to do. He is great at strategy, filing discovery and... other motions, and arguing before the court. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of my case. If you need legal help in a personal injury action, commercial law or whatever, hire him immediately! He is a pleasure to work with, will thoroughly explain all to you in a manner you can understand, and will get you the best possible outcome. A+++read more
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I was seriously injured and they represented me and I was so happy with the outcome and would recommend them to any others seeking professional lawyers. They also set me up with the best doctors. My son and I have now put this lawsuit behind us thanks to Morrow & Sheppard.
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Nick Morrow is a GREAT lawyer that really knows his job. He made me feel comfortable about hiring him to handle my case. He’s trustworthy and very compassionate about his work. His staff is awesome also, everyone was nice and friendly to me when I visited the office. The settlement I received... exceeded my expectations, it was four times what I expected. I would highly recommend Morrow and Sheppard to anyone needing legal representation. Thanks again Nick!!read more
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I was injured working offshore. Morrow & Sheppard handled my maritime case and won a great settlement for me. If you have been injured at work, Morrow & Sheppard are great offshore injury lawyers.
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Morrow & Sheppard won my family a multimillion dollar settlement in a wrongful death case after my kids’ father died. The settlement money will help make sure my family is taken care of, and that my kids can go to college. If you have a wrongful death case or a loved one dies at work, call Morrow... & Sheppard. They will take care of you.read more
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Morrow & Sheppard helped me when my employer breached my contract. They took the case from start to finish, and won our trial. If you’ve been injured or wronged at work, call Morrow & Sheppard.
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Ky Evans - Celebrity Strength Coach (The LIFT L.
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I suffered a work injury when the work vehicle I was riding in was involved in an accident with another car. Morrow & Sheppard took my case and won a great settlement for me. If you need a work injury attorney, I highly recommend Morrow & Sheppard.
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00:39 12 Nov 19
Nick Morrow and John Sheppard are the best. I was paralyzed in a work injury. Several other lawyers turned down my case. Morrow & Sheppard hired expensive experts, took dozens of depositions, and proved my case. I saw them in court against a team of defense lawyers, and the defense lawyers... didn’t stand a chance. Morrow & Sheppard took my case all the way when nobody else would. Now my family is set up for life. Throughout the process, they kept me updated and made me feel like I was more than a number. I still talk to Nick to this day. Morrow & Sheppard exceeded my expectations in every way, and I cannot recommend them enough. If you are injured at work, call Morrow & Sheppard.read more
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jeff H.
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Nick Morrow represented me in a commercial dispute and achieved a positive and quick resolution. Both Nick Morrow and John Sheppard have the background, determination, dedication and passion that is critical when choosing legal representation. I highly recommend them for your legal needs.
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18:55 01 Aug 15
Morrow & Sheppard is a great law firm. Both Nick and John are excellent attorneys that aggressively and zealously pursue their clients' claims.
Yusuf B.
Yusuf B.
15:44 22 Jul 15
John Sheppard, with Morrow & Sheppard LLP, is brilliant. On more than one occasion, he successfully represented various affiliated companies I was part of. John is very diligent, thorough and fights hard for righteousness. There were numerous times that he helped us through extremely difficult... moments. John is very professional, responsive and respectful. I highly endorse Morrow and Sheppard LLP for legal representation and/or legal assistance needs.read more
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Don K.
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John and Nick are well trained, experienced, smart and most importantly, tenaciously dedicated to their clients' interests. They will get the job done right.
Andy P.
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18:41 14 Jul 15
Should I ever need an attorney Morrow & Sheppard will be my first call. Having known them both for many years now I know the passion and dedication that they both have toward their work. They both have a solid background that helps them to meet any needs that clients may have. I would recommend... them to anyone in need of an attorney.read more
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Keith C.
16:39 14 Jul 15
My experience with John, at Morrow and Sheppard, during my company’s litigation was better than I could have imagined (considering the circumstances of being involved in litigation). What stood out to me the most, was John’s tenacity in preparation. I later realized this came from two places, one... he didn’t want to lose and two (and most importantly) he CARED so much about me getting justice. I cannot stress this enough, when you are dealing with a lawyer that truly cares, then all of the other stresses I had around the case seemed to go away. I was always kept up to date with what was going on in our case, and he always made it very clear he was just an email or call away! In addition to these attributes, he also knows the law and is willing to fight for what is right! It would be tough to find another lawyer that is as highly effective, skilled, knowledgeable, ethical and has such an impeccable reputation (which is well deserved). I would recommend Morrow and Sheppard to anyone seeking out a law firm, in the event they needed counsel.read more
Brian R
Brian R
16:04 14 Jul 15
Nick and John are a great team. They are both honest, trustworthy and have a tenacious work ethic on behalf of their clients. They stand behind these qualities, having left partnerships at great law firms to commit 100% to achieving results for individuals and businesses. They will fight for... you and I'm proud to call them clients and friends.read more
Jim B.
Jim B.
13:58 13 Jul 15
I cannot think of anyone I would trust more for legal advice. First class attorneys.
Claire M.
Claire M.
04:13 11 Jul 15
John and Nick are outstanding lawyers. They are both extremely sharp, skilled, hard-working, and passionate about what they do. I would highly recommend either of them to anyone looking for high-level service that also happens to be affordable.
Will M.
Will M.
22:08 10 Jul 15
I've known Nick for many years; he's a first-class person in all regards and I would absolutely recommend him to anybody with legal needs.
Dan E.
Dan E.
14:42 01 Jul 15
Nick's an outstanding lawyer and an even better person. I would recommend Morrow & Sheppard to anyone seeking legal representation.
Billy O.
Billy O.
23:07 30 Jun 15
I have known Nick Morrow for many years, and he is incredibly trustworthy, intelligent, and generally one of the best people I know. Without question, I would recommend him and his firm to anyone needing legal representation.
Koetting J.
Koetting J.
22:26 30 Jun 15
Morrow and Sheppard represented my business in a dispute and was able to quickly and successfully achieve a settlement. The attention to detail and timely work was very beneficial to us. I highly recommend Morrow & Sheppard.
Matt G.
Matt G.
14:40 26 Jun 15
Best injury lawyers around. Honest attorneys; tenacious on behalf of their clients.
Chris D.
Chris D.
21:38 25 Jun 15
Thoughtful, hardworking, brilliant. These guys are the real deal.
Annie E.
Annie E.
17:33 24 Jun 15
Morrow & Sheppard would be my first call for legal assistance. I have known Nick Morrow for years and I cannot say enough positive things about him. He is smart, dedicated, ethical, dependable, and very thorough with every client. I would strongly recommend this firm to anyone looking for top of... the line legal assistance.read more
Anne Louise C.
Anne Louise C.
15:28 24 Jun 15
Morrow & Sheppard LLP is an outstanding law firm. I have known Nick Morrow for many years. He is honest, hardworking, and very attentive to his clients. I could not recommend him enough for your legal needs.
Caroline B.
Caroline B.
21:25 23 Jun 15
Nick Morrow represented my hospital in a rather messy multi-party contractual dispute between our landlord and a third party tenant that ended in a favorable outcome for our side. Throughout the process Nick provided excellent follow-up, strategic insight, and guidance. I would highly recommend... Morrow and Sheppard for legal services.read more
Sam R.
Sam R.
21:05 23 Jun 15
Nick Morrow and John Sheppard are extremely knowledgeable, hard-working, and attentive. They go above and beyond to meet the needs of each and every client. I highly recommend this law firm for your next case.
Megan M.
Megan M.
16:17 23 Jun 15
Nick Morrow is an extremely trustworthy, smart, and loyal individual. I would highly recommend his firm to anyone needing legal assistance.
Kendall M.
Kendall M.
14:58 23 Jun 15
I know Nick Morrow to be an extremely trustworthy and compassionate individual who represents his clients with utmost respect and persistence. Without hesitation, I would recommend Morrow & Sheppard to anyone needing legal advice or counsel.
Mollie S.
Mollie S.
16:18 22 Jun 15
I've known Nick Morrow for many years now and know there isn't a more loyal, hard-working, or trustworthy attorney out there. I would highly recommend him and his team to anyone in need of an attorney that gets results.
Mike V.
Mike V.
15:44 22 Jun 15
Morrow & Sheppard are second to none. Nick and John are a class act. My experience with the firm could not have been better.
Jeffrey W.
Jeffrey W.
20:10 19 Jun 15
The dedication and hard work of Morrow & Sheppard are second to none. One of the brightest and exceptionally run firms out there. I highly recommend them.
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James J.
19:57 19 Jun 15
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