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

Regional Survey Raises Concerns About Community Health
Tuesday. December 10, 2002

PHILADELPHIA, PA, December 10, 2002 — Data from the 2002 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey released today show several areas of concern, including increases in the number of residents forgoing recommended cancer screenings and increases in the number of uninsured children and adults in the region.

The survey, conducted over the summer, is the eighth fielded by the nonprofit Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and includes interviews in more than 10,000 households in the five-county region.

Cancer Screening   
No Mammogram   31% (2000) 33% (2002)
No PAP Smear   27% (2000) 30% (2002)
No Clinical Breast Exam  21% (2000) 24% (2002)
No Colorectal Exam, Men  43% (2000) 47% (2002)
No Prostate Cancer Screening 26% (2000) 30% (2002)

After years of steady progress, several key indicators, especially the use of cancer screenings, reflected a potential trend reversal. In 2002, fewer men were tested for prostate and colorectal cancer, and fewer women received PAP Smears, Clinical Breast Exams, and Mammograms, than in 2000. American Cancer Society recommendations are used as a guideline for determining age and gender appropriate screenings.

The ranks of the uninsured rose among both adults and children in 2002, despite state programs such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and “Adult Basic” coverage for the working poor who do not qualify for medical assistance. In 2002, more adults ages 18 to 64 were uninsured (9%) than at any other time in the past decade of surveys. Four percent, or 37,815 of children, were uninsured.

In addition to questions regarding health status, insurance status, chronic conditions, exercise and other health-related behaviors, the 2002 Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey included a series of questions to investigate how individuals obtain health information, what type of information is most needed, and what sources are being consulted. According to the survey, most adults rely on their doctors for health information (60%), but many are using the Internet as well (one out of seven people or 15%).

Other new topic areas focus on how residents rate their community’s health, how many servings of fruits and vegetables people are eating, and childhood disabilities, as well as more information on mental health, asthma, youth violence and child care. These and other community health issues, such as measures of “Health Care Quality of Life,” will be explored over the next couple of years by the COMMUNITY HEALTH DATA BASE and its members.

PHMC conducts the Household Health Survey through its ongoing COMMUNITY HEALTH DATA BASE project. The COMMUNITY HEALTH DATA BASE is supported by charitable foundations and local governments, health care providers, and human service agencies. Survey information is used to plan and improve health services and public safety programs for the residents of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
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 celebrates its 30th Anniversary of service to the region this evening at the Kimmel Center with Keynote Speaker, Malcolm Gladwell, New Yorker columnist and author of The Tipping Point, a book on social epidemics and how change occurs in society.

PHMC is a United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania member agency. Foundation support is also provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Philadelphia Foundation, and The William Penn Foundation. Additional information about PHMC and the COMMUNITY HEALTH DATA BASE is available online at