Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-57) 72 pp

August 2009

Health Status and Health Care Access of Farm and Rural Populations

Rural residents have higher rates of age-adjusted mortality, disability, and chronic disease than their urban counterparts, though mortality and disability rates vary more by region than by metro status. Contributing negatively to the health status of rural residents are their lower socioeconomic status, higher incidence of both smoking and obesity, and lower levels of physical activity. Contributing negatively to the health status of farmers are the high risks from workplace hazards, which also affect other members of farm families who live on the premises and often share in the work; contributing positively are farmers' higher socioeconomic status, lower incidence of smoking, and more active lifestyle. Both farm and rural populations experience lower access to health care along the dimensions of affordability, proximity, and quality, compared with their nonfarm and urban counterparts.

Keywords: agriculture safety and health, electronic health records, farmer health, health, health care access, health care affordability, health care quality, health disparities, health IT, health status, mortality, rural health, telehealth, uninsured

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