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Eastern Kentucky lags behind the rest of the state regarding proper health, while Kentucky as a whole is doing worse than national averages. Kentucky not only leads the United States in cancer mortality, but sees higher mortality from heart disease, injury, suicide, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The health crisis being observed can largely be attributed to high poverty rates throughout the Eastern half of the state. Considering the not-so-broad socioeconomic scale seen throughout much of Kentucky, it is more evident that health has a direct correlation to one’s wealth and resources. Along with being financially secure, those who are educated tend to have better health outcomes. Resources and access to these necessities contribute to health outcomes just as much, if not more. The closure of many rural hospitals has had a direct impact on eastern Kentuckian’s ability to access healthcare, and without the ease of access, many forgo treatment contributing to poor health.

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Health and Wealth: Hidden Disparities in Eastern Kentucky



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