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Health Behaviors in Rural America

Updated April 21, 2023

Despite improvements in the overall health of Americans, people living in rural areas were less likely than their urban counterparts to practice health behaviors that could protect them from chronic disease. Ultimately, this puts rural Americans at higher risk for chronic disease than their urban counterparts.

A CDC report found that only 1 in 4 rural adults practices at least 4 of 5 health-related behaviors that can prevent chronic disease such as not smoking, maintaining a normal body weight, being physically active, not drinking alcohol or drinking in moderation, and getting sufficient sleep. Practicing health-related behaviors can prevent chronic diseases.

What the Science Says


Reducing Potential Excess Deaths

CDC MMWR Commentary

Chronic Disease Prevention

More information from CDC

Smoking and Tobacco Use

More information from CDC

Physical Activity

More information from CDC

Healthy Weight

More information from CDC


More information from CDC

Excessive Alcohol

More information from CDC