The report, prepared by
The 2016 Community Health Assessment report was compiled from data pulled in late 2015, examining health and quality of life factors for residents in the area. The study examines two major categories of health status and outcomes and health influences and factors.
In self-reported perception of health study, 40 percent reported having "very good" or "excellent" health and 21 percent perceived themselves as in "fair" or "poor" health. Correlating age and income level, the study found residents making less than
The first category, heath status and outcomes, looks at how long people in the area live, primary causes of death, and current health status. A striking outcome in this category is a high number of years lost due to preventable causes.
The leading causes of death in
In all categories, men had a higher mortality rate than women, following a consistent pattern in which men have a shorter life span than women. Male mortality rates were notably higher in categories for malignant neoplasms, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, intentional self-harm, and cirrhosis.
Mortality patterns by race in the county shows Hispanics have a lower mortality rate than either black or white groups in three categories -- all causes, malignant neoplasms (cancer), and disease of the heart. The
Mortality rates in blacks appears to be higher than both whites and Hispanics, especially in the rate of infant mortality, death of a child under age 1.
Causes of death vary by age group with mortality rates generally increasing with age. Malignant neoplasms were uncommon before age 15, except for Leukemia. Alzheimer's Disease as a cause of death begins around age 45, but is most common after age 75. Intentional self-harm (suicide) and motor vehicle accidents have mortality rates in nearly every age group. Suicide rates in men (22.9 per 100,000 population) were much higher than women (7.6 per 100,000).
Motor-vehicle accident deaths were similar to state and national rates with numbers highest in ages 15-24 and 25-34.
Infant mortality rates in
The study found about 11 percent of county residents had a heart disease diagnosis. The rate was slightly higher for men than women, which is similar to the state average. Heart disease correlated with income, with increasing rates as income decreased. This continues the pattern seen of lower income individuals having a higher risk for health problems.
The overall rate of cancer is just under nine percent. The rates for females was slightly higher than males, which varies from the state norm where males have a higher cancer rate than females. For cancer, there was no statistical difference in income groups. Males still had a higher mortality rate from cancer than females.
Information on diabetes prevalence showed a promising decrease from years 2004-2012, but the county said it was too soon to tell if this was a true downward trend.
Rates for females (17.4 percent) in the county were slightly higher than males (12.7 percent) and lower income again correlated with higher rates of diabetes (21.34 percent with diabetes reporting
Depression rates were on par with other state numbers with more women (28.71 percent) than men (13.35 percent) reporting depression. Here as well, income level plays a significant factor with depression rates greatly increasing with lower income levels (32.83 percent reported income less than
The second category, health influences and factors looks into behaviors, health care resources, and socio-economic, cultural factors.
In the realm of negative health behaviors,
Tobacco use remains slightly higher than state average at 19 percent of the county population. Income, again, plays a factor with 26.7 percent of smokers making less than
Adult obesity rates have leveled off after an all-time-high in 2010, but the rate is still above average at around 30 percent.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities appear to be on a strong decline for the county at around 20 percent in 2014, down from about 35 percent in 2010.
Teen birth rates were similar to the rest of the state with higher percentages for black and Hispanic mothers over white or other races.
The report shows availability of health care is a strong positive feature of the
Uninsured populations continue to decline with only about 12.9 percent of residents without insurance in 2014. The report shows since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the number of people without insurance should continue to decline even further. The county has a primary care provider ratio similar to top performing areas of the
A summary of socio-economic factors was favorable to the county showing a higher than state average high school graduation rate (93 percent), lower than average unemployment rate (4.9 percent), and lower number of violent crimes (405).
Some weaknesses were a high number of children living in poverty (29 percent) and median income of
The county said in the future they hope to tailor health programs to lower income populations and direct attention to affordable care for all residents. They also aim to target issues specific to men and the county's black population.
(c)2016 the Times Record News (Wichita Fallas, Texas)
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