Original Article

Health Status in the Mississippi River Delta Region

Authors: Holly Felix, MPA, M Kathryn Stewart, MD, MPH


Objectives: The purpose of the study was to determine if and where there were counties with significantly better or poorer health than others in the region.

Methods: Using Z scores for 6 mortality-related measures, this study identifies counties within the Delta states with the highest and lowest rates.

Results: Although Delta counties account for only 33% of the counties in the eight target states, they represent the majority of counties with the highest mortality measures, and represent the minority of counties with positive health outcomes.

Conclusions: These findings confirm the appropriateness of targeting interventions, and help pinpoint places where better health is being achieved despite high poverty and other risk factors, where important lessons can be drawn.

Key Points

* Although most reports document that extreme health disparities exist within the Mississippi Delta, statistical tests identified Delta counties with extreme positive health status indicators.

* Targeting local health programs at the county level is an appropriate intervention for Delta-based populations.

* Identifying areas with significantly different health status in a region may offer understanding for improving the health of the region.

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