Rural death: New study shows cities are safer than the country
Rural areas with the highest percentages of black inhabitants had much lower risk of injury death than rural areas with fewer black inhabitants. The study ventured a few hypothesis for this difference. Blacks have a lower rate of suicide, and given the higher rate of suicide in rural areas, this would have an impact. The study also speculated that it could be that rural communities with more blacks may be farther from highways where the highest percentages of rural injury deaths take place.
The opposite was true for Latinos. The more Latinos in a rural area, the larger the risk of injury death.
"As these were not the focus of the study, but secondary analyses, we did not look further into why these differences exist," Myers said. "But they are ripe for further study."
Another area for study — or implementation, is to take the broader results and target rural areas for injury-prevention intervention.
"There is no need to use the same technique or deliver the same message across the rural-urban spectrum if you know the differences in what specific injuries that people are at risk for in rural areas or urban areas, and at what ages," Myers says. "You can target your interventions to those specific injuries, in the age groups that are most at risk."
For example, a campaign about fall injuries among older Americans would be more effective if targeted to urban elderly, she says.
And perhaps, because of this study, a city's Chamber of Commerce may advertise someday about how people should consider leaving the dangerous countryside and coming to the relatively safer city.
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