Rural Life Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

John Commins, July 24, 2013

A study finds that the risk of injury deaths is 22% higher in the most rural counties than in the most urban areas. While the data reveals some surprising findings, the lead author says she can only speculate as to the reasons why.



Sage Myers, MD

Caution: Rural life may be hazardous to your health.

A study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine finds that the risk of injury death is about 20% higher in rural areas when compared with large cities.

"I was definitely surprised by the findings," says Sage Myers, MD, lead author of the study: Safety in Numbers: Are Major Cities the Safest Places in the U.S? [PDF]

"All of us have this maybe more emotional reaction when you talk about safety as it relates to cities and rural areas. When we think about safety, we think about things that we are scared of, people attacking us and shooting us," says Myers, an associate professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a pediatric emergency physician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

"So we have that emotional connection that cities are not safe. But when you think of safety as your overall risk of injury to your person with all kinds of injuries included, I was surprised to see that it turns out to be the opposite, that cities are the safest."

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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