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

New Data on the Way from the 2010 SEPA Household Health Survey
Tuesday. January 11, 2011


The Community Health Data Base’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey (SEPA HHS) is a random digit dial telephone survey of 10,000 households  - 9,000 landlines and 1,000 cell phones - conducted every other year across the 5-county Greater Philadelphia area (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia)  to learn about the health and wellbeing of adults, children, and seniors in the region.  Due to the uniquely large sample size used for the SEPA HHS, data can be analyzed for small geographic areas, down to the ZIP Code in many cases. Data from the 2010 Survey, conducted this past summer, will be released in February 2011. 

The Household Health Survey has been conducted since 1983, and every other year since 1994.  Core health indicators can be tracked over time, allowing for longitudinal analyses to monitor trends and measure change.  Some of the key topics the Community Health Data Base is tracking again this year include chronic conditions, health screenings, access to healthcare, health behaviors and social capital, among others.

Every two years, in response to changes in health and healthcare both locally and nationwide, new questions are added to the Household Health Survey.  Adapting to changes in health issues, the addition of timely topics keeps the Household Health Survey dynamic and responsive.  This year, in partnership with CHDB’s network of Members and Affiliates, new questions were asked in more than twelve different topic areas. 

For the first time ever, Household Health Survey respondents were asked about their HIV status.  Past surveys had asked whether the respondent had been tested and whether they had received their results.

Pet Ownership among Older Adults
Recent research has linked pet ownership with improved health outcomes and overall wellbeing among older adults.  In 2010, as part of the Household Health Survey’s older adult section, adults 60+ are asked what types of pets they share their homes with.

This year’s Household Health Survey looks at problem gambling using three different questions.

Sugary Beverages
This year’s survey looks at the consumption of sodas and other sugary beverages among both adults and children in Philadelphia.

Addiction and Recovery
The 2010 Household Health Survey captures both the experiences of addiction and recovery among adults in Southeastern Pennsylvania and opinions and beliefs held by adults in our region about recovery and recovery services.

With a growing number of adults in our region and nationwide caring for an elderly relative or friend, the 2010 Survey asks whether each adult respondent is in such a caregiving role.  This question was previously asked only of older adults.

Internet Access
The 2010 Household Health Survey uses a three question series to look at Internet access and use, capturing not only whether adults in our region are online, but also the reasons why they are not.

Menu Labeling
A new question introduced this year examines the response of Philadelphia adults to changes in menu labeling, requiring some restaurants to post nutritional information. 
Cigarette Purchases
In the 2010 Survey, adults throughout Philadelphia were asked whether they knew of a place in their neighborhood selling (illegal) loose cigarettes.  Additionally, cigarette smokers were asked in what types of stores they bought their cigarettes.

The 2010 Household Health Survey collects the ZIP Codes where adults in our region spend their time away from home, whether at work, at school, or somewhere else.  This data gives insight into the exposures and opportunities adults in our region encounter in their daily travels.  In addition, a new question about commuting method looks at whether SEPA residents are driving, biking, walking, or taking public transportation to work or school.

Disability Status
Collected as a demographic variable, this year’s Household Health Survey asks whether adults in our region have a physical, mental or a emotional disability.

Menthol Cigarettes
In this survey year, Philadelphia smokers were asked for the first time whether they smoke menthol or non-menthol cigarettes.

The survey’s dataset provides a unique, in-depth view into the regional population’s utilization of health screenings, health status, health behaviors, and access to care, as well as other critical health topics.  New data will be released to CHDB Members and Affiliates in February, 2011.

For more information on the 2010 Household Health Survey, contact Francine Axler at or 215 985 2521.

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