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Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - 1:00pm

Rural-Urban Health Gap Grows

Updated: 3 years ago.
People in Georgia's rural areas always have known about a health disparity between them and more urban areas. But a new study suggests people can live a decade longer or shorter based on where in Georgia they live. (photo Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Rural-to-urban health disparities in the state are growing.

A new study finds, some Georgians now are living as much as a decade shorter than others, depending on where they live.

Men live, on average, 77 years in Metro Atlanta's Fayette County.

But they live, on average, 67 years in Southwest Georgia's Calhoun County.

Women fare a few years better.

The study shows, in 20 years, the gap between the two parts of the state grew by a year for men and three years for women.

Jacqueline Grant of the Southwest Georgia Health District says, one cause is persistent poverty.

"When you have people who can barely afford their next meal, they're not as concerned about gettnig the best selection of foods on their plates."

The report says that health disparities are growing the most among women, in part, because they are catching up to men in risky health behaviors, such as smoking and poor eating.

The University of Washington's Dr. Ali Mokdad says, the study's goal was to compare counties, states and countries.

"How come somebody living in a county in Georgia has a chance of living less than somebody living in Iran, for example?" Mokdad asks. "This is new. This is shocking. This is a wake up call for all of us."

The full report and an Excell spreadheet of the data is available at this website.

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