Date of Award

5-8-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Monte Tidwell, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

George Bieger, Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of the health access and utilization, health risk and preventive behaviors, chronic diseases, and selected public health issues for rural and urban residents of Pennsylvania. Only by the examination of these factors of health can policy makers and health providers make connections and understand the recommendations of implementing health education to prevent the onset of chronic diseases. It is not enough to recognize the data alone but to relate them to each other and use the data to design educational programs to avert poor health. This study analyzed pre-existing data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coordinated, state-based, continuously conducted, telephone-administered health survey that monitored risk behaviors related to chronic diseases, injuries, and death. The data was analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistical procedures to determine any significance among rural and urban residents of Pennsylvania. The results indicated that there were no significant differences among rural and urban Pennsylvania residents and their health behaviors. Persons from rural and urban areas both had instances of chronic diseases, risk health behaviors, and persons from rural areas had less access to healthcare than persons from urban areas. While, this relationship among rural and urban areas remained consistent, there were some areas where people from rural areas were better than urban areas. People from urban areas reported more instances of asthma and diabetes. Most importantly, the results of the quantitative data confirmed the need for more effective educational interventions to teach patients proper healthy behaviors and how to manage their chronic diseases correctly.

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