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Health inequalities among rural and urban population of Eastern Poland in the context of sustainable development

School of Socio-Economic Geography Department of Earth Sciences and Spatial Management Maria Curie-Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland
The primary goals of the study were a critical analysis of the concepts associated with health from the perspective of sustainable development, and empirical analysis of health and health- related issues among the rural and urban residents of Eastern Poland in the context of the sustainable development of the region. The study was based on the following research methods: a systemic approach, selection and analysis of the literature and statistical data, developing a special questionnaire concerning socio-economic and health inequalities among the population in the studied area, field research with an interview questionnaire conducted on randomly-selected respondents (N=1,103) in randomly selected areas of the Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie and eastern part of Mazowieckie Provinces (with the division between provincial capital cities – county capital cities – other cities – rural areas). The results of statistical surveys in the studied area with the use of chi-square test and contingence quotients indicated a correlation between the state of health and the following independent variables: age, life quality, social position and financial situation (C-Pearson’s coefficient over 0,300); a statistically significant yet weak correlation was recorded for gender, household size, place of residence and amount of free time. The conducted analysis proved the existence of a huge gap between state of health of the population in urban and rural areas. In order to eliminate unfavourable differences in the state iof health among the residents of Eastern Poland, and provide equal sustainable development in urban and rural areas of the examined areas, special preventive programmes aimed at the residents of peripheral, marginalized rural areas should be implemented. In these programmes, attention should be paid to preventive measures, early diagnosis of basic civilization and social diseases, and better accessibility to medical services for the residents.