What We're Reading: Rural Counties Struggle With Premature Death Rates

What we're reading, March 16, 2016: there is a big divide between the rural and urban health; exercise is rarely prescribed for chronic conditions; and NFL executive acknowledges link between football and degenerative brain disease.

While premature deaths have been steadily going down across the entire country, rural areas are being left behind. Forbes reported that one-fifth of rural counties in a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation had worsening premature death rates and rural counties scored highest on tobacco use, teen births, and preventable hospital stays. In comparison, both suburban and large urban areas have improved when it comes to rates of premature death.

Primary care physicians prefer to prescribe pharmaceutical or surgical solutions for many chronic conditions when exercise could be a treatment. According to Healio, a lack of awareness about the effectiveness of exercise may be the reason it is rarely prescribed. In addition, there is not a lot of knowledge about what is an effective exercise intervention. However, patients with lower-back pain could use sessions with a physiotherapist while patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be taught to manage breathlessness during exercise, researchers reported.

An executive of the NFL has acknowledged the link between football and a degenerative brain disease. The executive, testifying on Capitol Hill, admitted that research has shown a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a reversal from the NFL’s lead physician saying something different just a month ago, reported NPR. The research in question found that 90 out of 94 former pro football players and 45 out of 55 former college players had signs of CTE.