More than 40% of Americans living in rural communities suffer from high blood pressure, while urban dwellers have lower rates, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC’s statistical researchers found that 34.2% of Americans visiting physicians in large, metro areas — defined as at least 1 million residents — have hypertension. But the less populated the region, the more likely residents are to exhibit high blood pressure, according to the report published Thursday.
About 38% of residents in small-to-medium metro areas (between 250,000 residents and one million) experienced hypertension, while 49.1% of rural Americans visiting doctor’s offices had high blood pressure.
The report, which analyzed data from 2014-2016, faulted “less active lifestyles” and less access to healthcare for the disparities. It also said residents of rural areas “are less likely to maintain normal body weight and meet aerobic activity recommendations.”
In 2016, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S., killing 635,260 Americans.