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Community Health Data Base
An Information Service of the Philadelphia Health Management Corporation

PHMC Celebrates 10th Survey
Monday. February 12, 2007


For more than two decades, data provided by CHDB has helped health care providers across the region plan programs, market services and assess need. CHDB’s central component, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, is the largest local health survey in the country. It is an extensive health survey conducted every two years providing timely information on more than 13,000 residents - children and adults - living in five-county Southeaster Pennsylvania (SEPA) region (includes Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties).

The survey provides primary data on a broad range of health topics such as health status, access to care, utilization of services, personal health behaviors, health screening information, health insurance status, women's health, child health, and older adult health and social support needs.  These data are available at the census tract, ZIP code, county and regional level.

2006 marks the tenth health survey, which has been conducted by CHDB since 1983—in 1983, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.  Several new questions, as well as an oversample of older adults and Latinos, were included in the 2006 survey to learn more about health practices and factors affecting various subgroups.
The following is a selection of 2006 findings on the health status of SEPA residents relating to access to care, chronic health conditions, asthma among children, obesity and overweight, and preventive screenings among women. 

Access to Care

According to 2005 Census data, the total number of Americans without health coverage is approximately 47 million. Nationally, about 8 million children (11.2%) lack health coverage. One of the goals of Healthy People 2010 (see sidebar for more information) is to increase the proportion of insured persons under age 65 to 100%.

Lack of health insurance coverage is a major cause of disparities in access to care, with such disparities being more prevalent among certain population subgroups. In SEPA, 9.4% of adults (18-64 years old) and 3.9% of children (ages 0-17years old) are uninsured. This represents about 225,000 adults and about 37,000 children without any private or public insurance.   Among adults, men (10.5%) are more likely than women (8.4%) to be uninsured. Also, Latino and black adults (27.8% and 11.8% respectively) are more likely to be uninsured than white or Asian adults ( 4.2% and 3.6% respectively).

Chronic Health Conditions

Similar to the nation, the health status of our region’s residents has not improved much despite advances in medical care.  In SEPA, nearly one in three adults have high blood pressure (29.6%) and about 10 percent have diabetes. African-American (40.0%) adults disproportionately have high blood pressure, as compared to white (27.7%), Latino (21.5%), and Asian (10.1%) adults. African-American adults (15.6%) are also more likely to have diabetes than their Latino (8.9%), white (8.1%), and Asian (1.9%) counterparts (Figure 1).

Obesity and Overweight

Nationally, one-third of adults are obese and approximately 30% of children are overweight. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 25 years, and the number of obesity-related diseases has increased dramatically. Adult obesity is defined as a score of 30 or greater on the Body Mass Index (BMI) Level scale, and children with a BMI of the 95th percentile or higher are considered overweight.

The Healthy People 2010 (HP2010) goal for obesity is to reduce the proportion of obese adults (age 20+) to 15% and overweight children (6-17) to 5%.  In SEPA, nearly 700,000 adults (24.5%) are obese, and one-in-five children (20.8%) are overweight—well above the HP2010 targets (Figure 2). An additional 14.8% of children ages 6 years and older are considered at-risk for overweight.  Black and Latino adults in SEPA 35.2% and 25.7%, respectively) were more likely to be obese than white (21.2%) adults.

Preventative Health Screenings

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States.  Early detection greatly increases the survival rate, yet many women are not receiving the recommended cancer screenings. According to the 2006 survey, in SEPA, about 430,000 women (27.1%) age 18 and older did not receive a breast exam and 524,000 (33.3%) women did not receive a Pap smear in the past year.  Of adult women age 40 and older, 350,000 (35.0%) did not receive a mammogram. 

More Information on 2006 Findings
Throughout the year, this website will highlight additional data findings from the 2006 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and other important public health issues. Special reports covering trends and disparities related to physical and mental health conditions, prescription drug coverage and Medicare Part-D, tobacco and alcohol use and other health behaviors, as well as comparisons between the health of SEPA residents and the Healthy People 2010 objectives, will also be disseminated throughout the year.   For more information about how to access the CHDB, please contact Francine Axler at



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