The $45,000 study was conducted by Joel Halverson, director of the Office for Social Environment and Health Research at West Virginia University.
It builds on a 2004 report that showed Appalachia _ a 13-state region stretching from southern New York to northeast Mississippi _ had some of the nation's highest death rates for heart disease, cancers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The new report, completed this month, confirms a statistical correlation between poor socio-economic conditions and early mortality, or deaths among those under 65.But Halverson
says it's the anomalies that are most intriguing.
Even within Appalachia, there are differences: People live longer in the northern reaches of the region than in the southern.
"Part of it's health care access.Part of it's behavior.Part of it's culture.Part of it's diet," Halverson
says."There's a whole range of issues that vary from place to place."
To really understand the disparities, he
says, researchers would need to conduct case studies, visiting certain areas and assessing their conditions in great detail.