The isolated geographical location and historical context of Appalachia involuntary economic divestment, reduced educational obtainment, and maladaptive health behaviors have facilitated the development of significant medical issues within the population compared to the rest of Kentucky. Through a cohort study Kentucky Appalachian populations (KACP) and Kentucky non-Appalachian (KnACP) health status and disease development were at the college age and adult Kentucky data compared. The early age health assessment examined prevalence of disease and health status in college students at Eastern Kentucky University through the use of a survey. The study examined the frequency of mortality rates for the top five diseases between the two populations. The results of the study showed no significant difference in disease progression, family health, or smoking habits between college level KACP and KnACP. However, when looking at the grown state adult data obtained from Kentucky Deperatment for Public Health all four health risk factors showed significance between KACP and KnACP. More specifically, the two mortality rates due to Heart Disease and Malignant Neoplasms were significantly higher in KACP than KnACP. Thus demonstrating that there is a difference in health between the two regions, however, the onset and life development of the diseases need to be further evaluated. Nonetheless, these findings indicate that there is a clear difference between the health of KACP between those at the college aged level and Kentucky Appalachian adults. However, this discrepancy could stem those from KACP region who attend college are less likely to develop health issues.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 12-11-2017


Lindsay E. Calderon

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Biological Sciences

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)


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Figure 1: Evaluation of participant’s current health issues

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Figure 2: Average body mass index comparisons

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Figure 3: Comparison of smoking habits

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Figure 4: Family medial background

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Family socio-economic status

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Health-risk and socio-economic factor comparison

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Mortality rate comparisons

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Comparison of prevalence of smoking and diabetes in adults

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Comparison of prevalence of obese and adults and of hypertension