This study uses data from a 2013 survey of 275 randomly sampled households across nine counties in western West Virginia to examine the significant differences between the health behaviors and attitudes of rural and isolated populations. The results show that age, education, and income are significant factors in explaining differences in health-related behaviors and attitudes for all urban, rural and isolated respondents. However, after controlling for socio-demographic differences, isolation is found to have only a few significant effects, and some of the effects run counter to stereotypes of isolated populations. Rural respondents are significantly more likely than isolated respondents to be obese and to have ever been diagnosed with hypertension. Rural respondents are significantly less likely than isolated respondents to have annual dental or medical checkups, to engage in physical activity during the spring months, and to raise their own chickens and cattle for food.
Newsome MA, Hazelett T, Sawhney M. Differences in health-related behaviors and attitudes between urban, rural, and isolated households in western West Virginia. West Virginia Medical Journal. 2015;111(4):30-38.