Appalachian health study shows higher-than-average rates of diabetes, heart attack, obesity

June 15, 2010

ATHENS, Ohio (April 8, 2010) – Rates for diabetes, heart attacks and obesity are higher than the national rates in nine Appalachian counties, according to a recent study by Ohio University’s Appalachian Rural Health Institute (ARHI) and Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

The ARHI: Health Needs Assessment Survey III (ARHI III) was conducted in Belmont, Columbiana, Gallia, Harrison, Jefferson, Lawrence, Monroe, Muskingum, and Noble counties. It builds on two previous surveys that provided similar health information.

While the ARHI III study focuses on diabetes prevalence and care, it also provides county-level prevalence rates for other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis, and stroke. In addition, study results include county-level information on associated risk and protective factors such as smoking, physical exercise, obesity, and access to health care.

The ARHI III study will be helpful to organizations seeking funding for health care services and prevention programming, to providers of primary care services, and to health researchers seeking county-level data.

Along with the full ARHI III Needs Assessment Report, there are four short reports that focus on diabetes, access to health care, factors that affect health status, and chronic disease prevalence. All five reports can be accessed at http://author.oit.ohio.edu/voinovichschool/news_info/publications.

The ARHI III Needs Assessment Survey was funded from a federal appropriation provided by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with the goal of improving the health of those living in Appalachian Ohio. The appropriation was sponsored by the Honorable Charlie Wilson, 6th Ohio Congressional District.

For more information, contact Professor Sharon Denham, ARHI director, at denham@ohio.edu or visit http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/arhi/.

Media Contact: Holly Raffle, Voinovich School, at 740-593-4398 or raffle@ohio.edu