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Appalachian, Urban Health Challenges Remarkably Similar

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 23, 2012

We compartmentalize population health issues in this country. Perhaps it is because the challenges are vast and daunting and there are usually exceptions to any consensus. Therefore, using reams of data to carve national healthcare issues into smaller bits based on region, race, gender, or socioeconomic class makes issues seemingly more digestible and solvable.

Subregions in Appalachia

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However, one of the unfortunate ironies of population health in the United States is that the people who live in the most remote sections of the country often face the same health and healthcare access issues that plague people in large cities. 

That notion is illustrated in new compilation of studies—Appalachian Health and Well-Being—that identify healthcare issues in the sprawling 13-state region.

Robert L. Ludke, PhD, a co-editor of the compilation and a professor of family and community medicine at the University of Cincinnati, told HealthLeaders Media that the "common denominators" for the poor health status of many people in Appalachian hollows and inner-city slums are "poor environment, low socioeconomic status, and lifestyles behaviors."

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