Older Adult Health in Alabama’s Black Belt Region

Academic Article


  • Health issues are a concern in Alabama’s Black Belt region, which runs across the southwestern part of the state and includes some of the poorest counties in the USA. As part of a Center for Disease Control (CDC)-sponsored study, we collected data covering several cancer (e.g., prostate, breast, skin) and other health-related indicators (e.g., stress, insurance, stroke, heart disease) from 647 predominantly African-American adults over the age of 50 in 20 communities in 7 Black Belt counties in 2005 and 2006. Here, we provide an account of the state of the health of older African-Americans and compare their outcomes to those of their White counterparts in the region. African-Americans report having generally lower levels of health and were less apt to have a cancer history (ps < 0.05) than the Whites in the region. Gender differences with respect to BMIs and smoking are also evident, with women having higher BMIs but lower levels of smoking. Physicians and researchers covering or interested in generally impoverished rural areas may find our results useful for comparative purposes.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Lian B; Schoenberger YM; Kohler C
  • Start Page

  • 642
  • End Page

  • 647
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 4