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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 61-68

What makes a healthy rural community?

1 University of British Columbia Department of Family Practice, Vancouver, Canada
2 University of British Columbia Department of Family Practice; Co-Director, Centre for Rural Health Research; Director Rural Health Services Research Network of BC, Vancouver, Canada
3 Healthy Kimberley Society, Kimberley, Canada

Correspondence Address:
MD, FCFPC Ilona Hale
University of British Columbia Department of Family Practice, Vancouver
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CJRM.CJRM_22_20

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Introduction: Health outcomes in rural populations are known to be generally worse than in urban populations but there are some exceptions to this trend. Most research evaluating these disparities has focused on rural communities with poor health outcomes. The current study set out to explore the factors that make some rural communities healthier than others. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 12 key informants in a rural community within a healthy outlier region. The interview guide was based on the Social-Ecological Model of health and the focus was on community – as opposed to facility-based health. Interview data were analysed using directed content analysis. Results: Five main themes were identified: (1) availability of amenities, (2) healthy lifestyle as a shared value, (3) transition from a mining community, (4) geographic location and (5) challenges. Conclusion: Many of the findings challenge traditional assumptions about determinants of health in rural communities. The phenomenon of 'amenity migration' from urban to rural areas which may increase in coming years, is one that can have important implications for health.

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