Alcohol Consumption Among Urban, Suburban, and Rural Veterans Affairs Outpatients
Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D), Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington 98101, USA. The Journal of Rural Health
(Impact Factor: 1.45).
03/2012; 28(2):202-10. DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2011.00389.x
United States rural residents tend toward poorer health than urban residents. Although alcohol use is associated with multiple medical conditions and can be reduced via brief primary care-based interventions, it is unknown whether alcohol consumption differs by rurality among primary care patients. We sought to describe alcohol consumption among urban, suburban, and rural Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatients.
Outpatients from 7 VA facilities responded to mailed surveys that included the validated Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test Consumption (AUDIT-C) screening questionnaire. The ZIP code approximation of the US Department of Agriculture's rural-urban commuting area (RUCA) codes classified participants into urban, suburban, and rural areas. For each area, adjusted logistic regression models estimated the prevalence of past-year abstinence among all participants and unhealthy alcohol use (AUDIT-C ≥ 3 for women and ≥ 4 for men) among drinkers.
Among 33,883 outpatients, 14,967 (44%) reported abstinence. Among 18,916 drinkers, 8,524 (45%) screened positive for unhealthy alcohol use. The adjusted prevalence of abstinence was lowest in urban residents (43%, 95% CI 42%-43%) with significantly higher rates in both suburban and rural residents [45% (44%-46%) and 46% (45%-47%), respectively]. No significant differences were observed in the adjusted prevalence of unhealthy alcohol use among drinkers.
Abstinence is slightly more common among rural and suburban than urban VA outpatients, but unhealthy alcohol use does not vary by rurality. As the VA and other health systems implement evidence-based care for unhealthy alcohol use, more research is needed to identify whether preventive strategies targeted to high-risk areas are needed.
Figures in this publication
Available from: Brian G. Frizzelle
- "We created a binary measure for rural-urban status following guidance from the Rural Health Research Center. The RUCA rural-urban classification system combines information about population and commuting relationships, and researchers have used this system to compare urban and rural differences in more detail than is possible using the county-level definition38394041 . We interacted our categorical distance measures with rural-urban status to test whether the effect of distance to RT providers is different in rural areas than in urban areas. "
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Distance to oncology service providers and rurality may affect receipt of guideline-recommended radiation therapy (RT), but the extent to which these factors affect the care of Medicare-insured patients is unknown.
Using cancer registry data linked to Medicare claims from the Integrated Cancer Information and Surveillance System (ICISS), we identified all women aged 65 years or older who were diagnosed with stage I, II, or III breast cancer from 2003 through 2005, who had Medicare claims through 2006, and who were clinically eligible for RT. We geocoded the address of each RT service provider's practice location and calculated the travel distance from each patient's residential address to the nearest RT provider. We used ZIP codes to classify each patient's residence as rural or urban according to rural- urban commuting area codes. We used generalized estimating equations models with county-level clustering and interaction terms between distance categories and rural-urban status to estimate the effect of distance to care and rural-urban status on receipt of RT.
In urban areas, increasing distance to the nearest RT provider was associated with a lower likelihood of receiving RT (odds ratio [OR] = 0.54; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30-0.97) for those living more than 20 miles from the nearest RT provider compared with those living less than 10 miles away. In rural areas, those living within 10-20 miles of the nearest RT provider were more likely to receive RT than those living less than 10 miles away (OR = 1.73; 95% CI, 1.08-2.76).
Results may not be generalizable to areas outside North Carolina or to non-Medicare populations.
Coordinated outreach programs targeted differently to rural and urban patients may be necessary to improve the quality of oncology care.
Available from: Alison J Kennedy
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ABSTRACT: Alcohol consumption patterns nationally and internationally have been identified as elevated in rural and remote populations. In the general Australian population, 20.5% of adult males and 16.9% of adult females drink at short-term, high-risk levels. Farmers are more likely to drink excessively than those living in major cities. This study seeks to explore the relationships between farmers' physical and mental health and their alcohol consumption patterns. Our hypothesis is that farmers consume alcohol at high-risk levels more often than the Australian average and that this consumption is associated with obesity and psychological distress.
Cross-sectional descriptive data were collected within Australian farming communities from 1,792 consenting adults in 97 locations across Australia. Data on anthropometric measurements, general physical attributes and biochemical assessments were used to explore the interrelationships of self-reported alcohol consumption patterns with obesity, psychological distress, and other physical health parameters.
There was a higher prevalence of short-term, high-risk alcohol consumption (56.9% in men and 27.5% in women) reported in the study compared with national data. There was also a significant positive association between the prevalence of high-risk alcohol consumption and the prevalence of obesity and abdominal adiposity in psychologically distressed participants.
The prevalence of short-term, high-risk alcohol consumption practices in this cohort of farming men and women is significantly higher than the Australian average. These consumption practices are coupled with a range of other measurable health issues within the farming population, such as obesity, hypertension, psychological distress, and age.
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ABSTRACT: This study compared common deployment-related health issues and correlates of mental health service utilization among rural and urban veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) living in Hawaii. Frequency of utilization of a broad range of mental health resources, including clergy/spiritual leaders, videoconference/online programs, and traditional/alternative healers, was also characterized. A random sample of 116 rural and 117 urban ethnoracially diverse veterans completed a mail survey. Rural veterans were more likely than urban veterans to meet screening criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), deployment-related concussion with persistent postconcussive symptoms, and alcohol use problems. Over one third of veterans who desired help for a mental health problem reported no current use of any services. Rural veterans were more likely than urban veterans to have accessed Veteran Readjustment Centers, but they did not differ with respect to utilization of other services. Correlates of mental health service utilization included higher education, PTSD, and lower mental-health-related quality of life. Results of this study underscore the need for dissemination efforts to enable OEF/OIF/OND veterans to access mental health resources. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
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