Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wonderment Wednesday: Thanksgiving and Obesity

It's Wednesday!
Let's cut to the chase folks, tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we at the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center have begun wearing the only appropriate headgear for tomorrow.

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holidays where there is much to be excited and unexcited for. For instance, being unexcited about that one uncle who takes a certain joy out of bringing everyone down at the dinner table. To prepare you for your uncle, let us be the buzz kill to the start of your holiday season. According to research, the average weight gain during the holiday is a little more than one pound. The problem is that we don't lose that gained weight over the year, which contributes to the obesity epidemic.

While most of you reading this are likely feeling bad for yourself and mentally preparing for the weight gain. You should feel even worse for people in rural areas. Based on these

4 Facts About Rural Obesity 

1. Rural children are heavier than urban children
According to this study published by Jihong Liu et al. in 2010, when comparing rural to urban children, rural children had higher rates of obesity than urban children. What made the rural children heavier than urban children? The major takeaway from the study was rural children were taking in more unhealthy food than their urban counterparts:
  • Younger rural children consumed more fat than urban children (62.7 v 56.9)
  • Younger rural children consumed more sweetened beverages than urban (13.5% v 7.9%)

But is it because rural children exercise less? Not really. 

2. Rural children did not exercise less than urban children 
According to the report, there was no real difference between rural and urban children in terms of exercise. Which likely means the weight difference is caused by the diet differences. However, the report did note, to the surprise of no one, 64%-74% of children (depending on age groups) spent 2+ hours in front of a TV or computer screen.

I heard it helps improve grip strength!

3. Rural adults had higher rates of obesity than urban adults
According to Tushar Trivedi et al,, this isn't just a rural children problem, because it effects rural adults as well. Rural adults had a higher rate of obesity than urban residents (35.6% v 30.4%). Similar to young children, rural adults were less likely to eat healthy food and drink more sweetened drinks. So it is just a diet problem right? Nope.

4. Rural adults reported less physical activity than their urban adults
 Unlike rural children, rural adults reported doing less physical activity than their urban counterparts. While the paper did not go into why rural adults would likely report less physical activity than urban adults a search of current research finds:
1. Not enough physical gyms/locations to exercise
2. Not enough sidewalks
3. Extreme conditions making it too cold/hot to exercise
And this too.

While all this information about rural obesity may put a cramp on you while you shove that cranberry covered stuffing down tomorrow. Look on the bright side! You've gained some excellent conversation starters at the dinner table tomorrow. 

As for preventing that 1 pound weight gain? We suggest smaller proportion sizes and finishing it off with a vigorous night of Black Friday shopping. 

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. See you next week, same place, same time. Make sure to have a safe Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wonderment Wednesday: IT'S NATIONAL RURAL HEALTH DAY.....tomorrow!

Happy Wednesday folks!
We don't know if you know, but tomorrow is National Rural Health Day! At the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center we are so excited for tomorrow we can hardly contain ourselves.

We understand National Rural Health Day is a fairly new industry holiday day of celebration, which is why you should click on this link to get great ideas on how to celebrate National Rural Health Day. While it isn't a federal holiday just yet, keep holding your breathes, because we're in the process of lobbying for it to become a federal holiday. Like any good holiday, we here at the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center believe we give you a in a gift of rural health knowledge on

5 New Things About Rural That We Have Learned About In This Past Year Illustrated With GIFs To Celebrate National Rural Health Day

1. Free Clinics Are Much Rarer In Rural Counties 

Free clinics are incredibly helpful for populations that are disadvantaged and lack health insurance. Rural populations typically lack health insurance, which leads to poor health outcomes. For this reason, free clinics are quite an asset for disadvantaged populations. The problem is, as this link shows, only 22% of free clinics are located in rural areas. Obviously, this does not bode well for America's rural population.

2. 30 Day Readmission Rates Are Higher Among Dual Eligibles. But There Is A Silver Lining For Rural Dual Eligibles. 

If you are an elderly person living in with Medicare and Medicaid as your insurance, then you are a dual eligible. It also means that the odds are in your favor. According to this link, you are less likely to have a 30 day readmission than Medicare only rural residents. All this means that while rural residents are less healthy, a dual eligible resident is less likely to go back to the hospital if they do end up going.

3. Rural Medicare Residents were less likely to receive post-discharge inpatient rehabilitation care after stroke because they live too far

One of the things that is constantly highlighted by the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center is the lack of healthcare access for rural residents. This is due in large part to the amount of driving that a rural resident needs to do to reach a healthcare facility. According to this link, rural medicare residents were less likely to receive post-discharge rehabilitation care after a stroke because they lived too far. When they did receive care, rural residents drove an average of 18.6 miles versus 8-12.6 of an urban resident. 

4. Not All Deprived Rural Counties Are

In a study looking at looking at health outcomes among children, it was found that while many rural counties were sicker than other counties. It suggested that not all rural counties were sick. According to  this link some counties are actually better off than urban counties when looking at health outcomes. 

5. But When A Rural County Is Deprived, It Is Much Worse Off

This good news come with a tidbit. When looking further into the same evidence that produced the previous point, this policy brief revealed a major detail. When comparing a deprived urban county with similar characteristics to a deprived rural county with similar characteristics, the rural county was impacted worse than the urban county.
As you can see, most of the news from rural health is bad news. This only marks the need for more help in rural areas. Only you can make a difference for people in rural by writing to your legislature for policy change.

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. See you next week, same place, same time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's A Wonderment Wednesday! Diabetes Awareness

Good Morning!
Before we begin, we at SCRHRC want to remember and thank all the veterans that have served for our country.  

On a totally different subject, I don't know about you, but I've finally put away all my pink based Breast Cancer Awareness items and updated my my entire wardrobe for Diabetes Awareness Month. That's right, the same diabetes that effects over 29 million Americans currently. Diabetes doesn't play around. Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney disease, cardiovascular damage, and a slew of other problems. So make sure you wear a grey or a blue circle pin and promote Diabetes awareness this November 14th (Saturday) and for the rest of the month! 

Remember it's a blue circle pin, not a blue pin.
 Blue pins are for colon cancer in March. 

Because we are slightly fond of rural health at SCRHRC, let's put on our research caps to see the difference between urban vs. rural for diabetes. According to a research brief written in 2009 by Dr. Kevin J. Bennett et al. at SCRHRC:

  • Rural adults were more likely to report having diabetes than were urban adults (9.6% versus 8.4%).  
  • The proportion of adults with diabetes who reported receiving at least two hemoglobin A1c tests within the past year was lower among rural  (33.1%) residents  than urban (35.0%) residents
  • Rural black adults were nearly 20% more likely to report having diabetes than were urban black residents. 
If you would like to read the full report you can click here. Don't believe the results here? In this paper, written by Dr. Nathan Hale et al. in 2010, reported similar results of higher prevalence of diabetes and poorer access to care by rural residents. In addition, they are more likely to report retinopathy and foot sores. That's right, people in rural areas are more likely to have diabetes, less likely to receive quality care, and have worse health outcomes! Can you say.....mind blown?

In the meantime, remember to give a nice tap on that subscribe button to the very bottom or top left hand side of this page to read more about the South Carolina Rural Health Research Center. See you next week, same place, same time.