Health improves in some but not all realms for King County residents, as shown by new Community Health Indicators
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Thursday, October 8, 2009
KING COUNTY, WA - King County residents continue to enjoy generally improved health in many areas with long life expectancies and low mortality from injuries and some chronic diseases. However, some trends are worsening or not improving, and health gains are not being experienced equally by all communities.
These and other health trends can be found in the completely-updated Community Health Indicators, a project that provides comprehensive data and health trends in accessible formats to members of the community, organizations and researchers. Visit: www.kingcounty.gov/health/indicators.
"A key strategy in creating healthier communities is to identify and measure areas of work and for improvement," said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health Seattle & King County. "The Community Health Indicators provide us and our residents with user-friendly information that can lead to actions."
Community Health Indicators provides information on a range of health indicators including life expectancy, causes of death, maternal and child health, chronic diseases, communicable diseases, access to care, and risk factors such as obesity, physical activity and smoking. Data, graphs, and maps show how these indicators vary by age, race/ethnicity, poverty, gender, and geography in the county.
King County residents are doing relatively well compared to U.S. statistics and similar counties nationwide, but the county is not meeting many of the national Healthy People 2010 goals.
Community Health Indicators reports:
- In 2007, King County residents overall had a life expectancy at birth of 81.5 years, but African Americans and American Indian/Alaska Natives on average had lower life expectancies.
- Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death in King County. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for residents between the ages of 1 and 44.
- Health gains are not being experienced equally. Large racial, income and geographic inequities continue.
- Injuries: Deaths from homicide, suicide, and motor vehicle accidents continue to decline.
- Chronic diseases: Deaths from breast cancer, colorectal cancer, heart disease and stroke continue to decline.
- Smoking continues to decline among King County adults.
- 12.5%, or about 153,000 King County adults age 18-64, reported no health insurance coverage in 2008.
- The adolescent birth rate is no longer continuing a decade-long decline and is rising in portions of the county.
- Increasing percentages of mothers/infants received either no prenatal care during pregnancy or began prenatal care late, in the third trimester. Late or no prenatal care can lead to worse pregnancy outcomes.
- Both obesity and deaths related to diabetes continue to increase.
- Almost 70% of King County residents met physical activity recommendations in 2007, and 85% reported at least some physical activity in the last month. However, 20-30% of the people of color, low income individuals, and south county residents did not participate in any physical activity.
Community Health Indicators at www.kingcounty.gov/health/indicators also includes links to AimsHigh, the King County performance indicator website, where users can view closely related data on Public Health performance.
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.9 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.