KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Smoking One Of Biggest Culprits In Appalachia’s Health Disparities

Appalachia is falling behind the rest of the country in infant mortality and life expectancy. And although much attention has focused on the area's opioid crisis, the study finds that the region's tendency to be "more accepting of tobacco use as a social norm" is a bigger factor in its health problems.

The Associated Press: Infant Mortality Disparity Grows In Appalachia, Study Finds
Placing much of the blame on smoking, a study chronicling the ongoing health crisis in Appalachia has concluded that the 13-state region suffers from a growing disparity in infant mortality and life expectancy, two key indicators of "a nation's health and well-being." The study , published in the August issue of Health Affairs, compared infant mortality and life expectancy rates in Appalachia with the rest of the United States between 1990 and 2013. It found while the rates were similar in the 1990s, by 2013 infant mortality across Appalachia was 16 percent higher than the rest of the country while life expectancy for adults was 2.4 years shorter. (8/7)

Kaiser Health News: Health Gap Widens Between Appalachia And Rest Of The U.S.
Sandy Willhite doesn’t mind driving 45 minutes to the nearest shopping center. But living in Hillsboro, W.Va., became problematic when she had to travel nearly six hours for proper foot treatment. “There just aren’t any quality surgeons or specialists in our area,” Willhite said, when explaining why she went to a doctor in Laurel, Md. (Connor, 8/7)

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