198584 Comparative Analysis of Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) for Residents of US Counties with and without Coal Mining

Monday, November 9, 2009

Keith Zullig, MSPH, PhD , Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Michael Hendryx, PhD , Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Background: HP 2010 identified quality of life improvement as a public health priority. Research has identified significant health problems among Appalachian residents in coal mining areas, but most research has relied on county-level data with limited covariates. This study compared health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in mining and non-mining counties in and out of Appalachia using the 2006 national BRFSS (N=349,287) and related differences to socioeconomic, behavioral, and environmental influences.

Methods: Dependent variables included self-rated health; the number of poor physical and mental health, and activity limitation days, in the last 30; and the CDC Healthy Days Index (created by adding recent poor physical and mental health days subtracted from 30). Independent variables included the presence of coal mining, Appalachian region residence, metropolitan status, primary care physician supply, and BRFSS behavioral (e.g., smoking, BMI, alcohol consumption) and demographic (e.g., age, sex, race, income, etc.) variables. Dependent variables were compared across a categorical variable with four levels: Appalachia (yes and no) and coal mining (yes and no). SUDAAN multiple linear regression models and post-hoc least squares means tested Appalachian coal mining effects after adjusting for covariates.

Results: People in Appalachian coal mining areas reported significantly fewer healthy days, and poorer self-rated health (p<.0005) after controlling for covariates.

Discussion: Appalachian residence was associated with significantly reduced HRQOL, and further magnified for persons residing in Appalachian coal mining areas. Coal mining areas are characterized by greater socioeconomic disadvantage, riskier health behaviors, and environmental degradation leading to reduced HRQOL.

Learning Objectives:
1.By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to compare HRQOL in mining and non-mining areas. 2.By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to describe the relative impacts of behavioral , socioeconomic, and environmental forces on HRQOL.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a quality of life researcher for ten years, hold two degrees from an accredited school of public health, and have published over 30 peer-reviewed publications since 2001.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.