Preventive Health Service Use Among Rural Women


Preventive health services and screenings are an important component in the continuum of care provided to individuals across all ages. Yet, research has shown that rural residents generally use fewer preventive health services and screenings. This study used the National Health Interview Survey to examine receipt of preventive health services (cholesterol check, fasting blood sugar test, mammogram, pap smear, and receipt of the HPV vaccine) by rural and urban women over the age of 18. Findings indicate that rural women were less likely than their urban peers to receive preventive health services, and that some of the differences may be explained by rural-urban differences in sociodemographic characteristics. However, even when controlling for these characteristics, lower use of mammogram or HPV vaccine among rural remained. Outreach efforts targeted to rural women, along with policies and programs designed to improve access to rural women's cancer screening and HPV participation, are needed.

Maine Rural Health Research Center
Erika Ziller, Jennifer Lenardson, Nathan Paluso, Jaclyn Janis