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

2010 Data Release of the SEPA Household Health Survey!
Tuesday. February 1, 2011


Since 1983, PHMC’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) has provided local-level data to help health and social service providers across the Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) region assess community need, conduct advocacy, plan programs, and guide policy decisions. The CHDB staff are excited to release data from our 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey!

The SEPA Household Health Survey (HHS) is one of the largest local surveys in the country, and is a unique resource for our region. The survey is conducted every two years and provides timely information on more than 13,000 residents—children and adults—living in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties). This comprehensive health 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 behaviors, health insurance status, women’s health, children’s health, and older adult health and social support needs. These data are available at the census tract, ZIP code, county, and regional level.

The Household Health Survey was first conducted in 1983 and subsequently in 1987, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and most recently, 2010! In addition to our core set of health and well-being indicators, several new topic areas were added to the 2010 survey, including substance abuse addiction and recovery, gambling, and disability status.  Some questions explore the health and well-being of adults and children living in Philadelphia.  These questions look at juice and soda consumption, the use of menu labeling, and cigarette purchases. 

(For a complete listing of all of the new questions added to the 2010 HHS, please see our January 2011 Data Findings at

Also new in the 2010 HHS, 1,000 interviews were conducted with respondents, via cell phone, to capture important health information among wireless households. 

The following presents selected findings from the 2010 HHS about the health and well-being of SEPA residents, including some of our core health indicators as well as new topic areas.

Access to Care

According to the US Census Bureau, in 2009, the total number of Americans without health insurance coverage was more than 50 million (16.7%), with 7.5 million children (10.0%) lacking health insurance coverage. One of the goals of Healthy People 2010 is to increase the proportion of insured persons to 100%.

Lack of health insurance coverage is a major cause of disparities in access to care, such that certain population subgroups are more likely to experience barriers to care than other subgroups. In SEPA in 2010, 11.4% of adults 18-64 years were uninsured. Among children ages 0-17 in SEPA, 3.4% are uninsured (see Figure 1 for trends.) Among adults, men (12.7%) are more likely than women (10.2%) to be uninsured. Also, Latino, black and Asian adults (31.5%, 16.6% and 14.2%, respectively) are more likely to be uninsured than white adults (7.5%).


Nationally, approximately one-third of adults and one-fifth of children are obese. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 25 years, and the prevalence of diseases associated with obesity has increased dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adult obesity is defined as a score of 30 or greater on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, and children with a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher for their age and gender are considered obese.

The Healthy People 2010 (HP 2010) goal for obesity was to reduce the proportion of obese adults to 15% and obese children to 5%. In SEPA, over one-quarter of adults (26.3%) and one in five children (19.2%) are obese—both percentages are well above their respective HP 2010 targets.


In the US, 17.9% of adults are current smokers, which falls below the Healthy People 2010 goal of 12% for adults. In the SEPA region, 20.3% of adults are current smokers, which has held steady from 2008.


Selected key findings from newly added topic areas from the 2010 HHS are highlighted below.

Southeastern Pennsylvania

  • Gambling: More than one in three adults residing in SEPA (34.6%) has ever bet money on card games, casino or internet gambling, bingo, lottery or scratch-offs, sports, pool or other activities.
  • Disability status: Nearly one in seven adults in SEPA (13.9%) has a physical, mental, or emotional disability or condition.
  • Addiction: Nearly one in ten adults living in SEPA (9.0%) once had an alcohol or drug problem.


Additional questions were asked only of Philadelphia adults and children for the 2010 HHS.

  • Soda and juice consumption: More than one in ten adults (11.5%) and one in ten children (10.0%) drinks soda at least once a day. Additionally, 15.1% of adults and 20.8% of children drink fruit juices or bottled teas at least once a day.
  • Menu labeling: Nearly two in five Philadelphia adults (38.0%) changed their food choice to a lower-calorie option due to menu labeling.

More information on 2010 findings

Throughout the year, our monthly web articles will feature more in-depth analyses of data from the 2010 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and other important public health issues.  For more information about how to access the CHDB, please contact Francine Axler at


DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Jessica C. Smith, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-238, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2010.  Available at:  Accessed: January 31, 2011.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Healthy People 2010. 2nd ed. With Understanding and Improving Health and Objectives for Improving Health. 2 vols. Washington, DC: U.S.  Government Printing Office, November 2000. Available at: Accessed: January 31, 2011.

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