Rural living tied to increased risk heart failure risk for women, Black men: 5 findings

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute researchers found adults living in rural communities have a 19 percent higher risk of developing heart failure compared to their urban counterparts.

The study, published in JAMA Cardiology, analyzed data from the Southern Community Cohort Study. They compared 27,115 rural and urban residents without heart failure in 12 southeastern states. Participants were followed for 13 years.

Only 20 percent of participants lived in rural communities, and 69 percent of Black participants were recruited from health centers for medically underserved populations.

Here are four other findings:

  1. Living in rural Southeast America was associated with increased risk of heart failure among women and Black men, even when adjusted for cardiovascular risk factors and socioeconomic status.

  2. Black men living in rural areas had 34 percent higher risk than their urban counterparts.

  3. Women living in rural areas had a 22 percent increased risk of heart failure, and Black women had an 18 percent higher risk compared to their urban counterparts.

  4. No association was found between rural living and heart failure risk among white men.

The reasons for these rural-urban health disparities are unclear, according to a Jan. 25 National Institutes of Health news release. "A multitude of factors may be at play, including structural racism, inequities in access to healthcare and a dearth of grocery stores that provide affordable and healthy foods, among others," the release said.

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