Researchers at the Southwest Rural Health Research Center have just published the results of their Rural Healthy People 2020 survey in The Journal of Rural Health.
The study found that, just as when the study was first conducted a decade ago (as the Rural Healthy People 2010 study), “access to quality health services” was considered to be the single most important health priority for rural Americans. While lack of sufficient access to health care unsurprisingly remains the most salient hurdle to better health for rural residents, the survey also found that the Top 10 issues facing rural residents for the decade going forward have changed from a decade ago.
Specifically, while issues of “nutrition and overweight” were not even listed in as a “Top 10” priority ten years ago, while it has moved into the second highest priority in the most recent survey.
Another interesting finding is that while stakeholders responding to the survey a decade ago did not list “older adults” as a healthy priority to be addressed within rural America, in this latest survey, the majority of stakeholders ranked issues facing “older adults” in the top ten highest-priority issues.
These are issues we all need to be aware of as important to rural practitioners and policy makers, and ensure that they do not get lost in the ongoing struggle for improved access.