Harvard Health Letter

More on the Stroke Belt study

Maria Glymour and her colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health conducted their study of the Stroke Belt by using data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses and mortality data from the National Center for Health Statistics for those same years. One of the strengths of their study was the use of "hard" mortality data, which is based on official death certificates.

They defined the Stroke Belt as being the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. These are the seven states included in the federal government's Stroke Belt elimination project.

Using the census and mortality data, the researchers created four "exposure" categories, with the exposure being either birth in the Stroke Belt or residence in a Stroke Belt state as an adult. The exposure groups stack up like this:

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