California's Rural Elderly Have High Rates of Chronic
FRIDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Older Californians who live
in rural areas have higher rates of chronic illnesses, such as
diabetes, obesity and heart disease, than the elderly in urban and
suburban areas, a new study finds.
The nearly 710,000 Californians aged 65 and older who live in
rural areas represent almost one-fifth of all older adults in the
state. These older rural dwellers face a number of challenges to
healthy living, including a lack of sidewalks, transportation
services, and access to stores that sell health foods, parks,
exercise facilities and health care centers, according to a policy
brief recently issued by the Center for Health Policy Research at
the University of California, Los Angeles.
In addition, there's a shortage of physicians and other primary
care providers in rural areas in California, forcing many seniors
to travel long distances for health care, the research team said in
a university news release.
The researchers' analysis of data from the 2007 California
Health Interview Survey found that 61 percent of older adults in
rural areas were overweight or obese, compared with 57 percent of
those in urban areas and 54 percent of those in suburbs.
One in five older rural dwellers don't include moderate or
vigorous physical activity in their leisure time, the researchers
Food insecurity is another problem. About 20 percent of
low-income older rural dwellers can't consistently afford enough
food to last an entire month, a rate about twice that of low-income
suburban older adults.
The Rural Assistance Center has more about
elderly people in rural areas.
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