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

Local Health Survey Shows Hypertension on the Rise
Saturday. December 1, 2001

PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 2001 — Data from a widespread survey of the region’s health reveal that since 1991, there has been a 20% increase in the percentage of Southeastern Pennsylvania adults with hypertension—from 22% in 1991 to 26% in 2000. Currently 727,400 adults in SEPA have high blood pressure.

The survey, conducted in June of 2000 by the nonprofit Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC), further shows that the prevalence of high blood pressure increases considerably with age. While only one out of five adults (20%) ages 18-64 has hypertension, one out of two adults (52%) ages 65 and older has been diagnosed with the condition.

Many lifestyle behaviors such as weight control, exercising regularly, not smoking, and reducing stress can help individuals avoid or manage heart disease.  Household Health Survey data for Southeastern Pennsylvania indicate that a sizeable percentage of adults with hypertension could engage in healthy lifestyles. For example, among adults with hypertension three out of four (73%) are considered overweight or obese; greater than half do not participate in regular exercise (56%); one-fifth smokes cigarettes (19%); and slightly more than one out of five experiences extreme stress (22%).

These selected findings are from PHMC’s 2000 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, a major telephone survey of more than 10,000 households in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia. PHMC will conduct its next Household Health Survey in 2002.

PHMC is a nonprofit, public health organization committed to improving the health of the community through outreach, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. PHMC is a United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania member agency. Additional Household Health Survey findings are located online at