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PA Health Department Survey Shows Impact of Income, Gender, Other Factors on Health and Access to Health Care
Date:9/13/2007

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A person's level of education, income and the cost of medical treatment play a role in how people gain access to health care, according to the results of the Department of Health's latest statewide survey.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey queried more than 16,000 Pennsylvanians about their health care, physical activity and nutrition, asthma, smoking, health screenings and other factors.

"The survey can tell us a lot about trends in the health of our citizens," said Health Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson. "For instance, we can evaluate who is not receiving recommended health screenings or needed care due to their lack of insurance or their inability to afford it. This type of information supports the need for health care reform, including Governor Rendell's 'Cover All Pennsylvanians' initiative to make affordable basic health insurance available to everyone in the state."

Significant findings of the 2006 survey include:

-- 30 percent of adults (ages 18-64) making less than $15,000 annually

and 25 percent of adults (ages 18-64) with less than a high school

education had no health insurance, compared to only 3 percent of

adults making more than $75,000 annually and only 6 percent of adults

(ages 18-64) with a college degree;

-- More than 20 percent of black and Hispanic adults in Pennsylvania

lacked health insurance, compared to only 11 percent of white adults;

-- 22 percent of Hispanic and 19 percent of black adults in Pennsylvania

were unable to see a doctor in the past 12 months when they needed to

because of cost, compared to only 9 percent of white adults;

-- 15 percent of men reported not having a personal health care

provider, compared to only 7 percent of women; and

-- 70 percent of men and 54 percent of women were overweight, but only

55 percent of overweight men were trying to lose weight, compared to

75 percent of overweight women.

Pennsylvania residents ages 18 and older completed the telephone survey in 2006. Survey topics included health care access, eye sight and eye care, physical activity, weight and weight control, nutrition, diabetes, oral health, cardiovascular disease, asthma, mental and physical disability, alcohol consumption, immunization, HIV testing, injury and safety issues, colorectal cancer screening, home environment and preparedness, and smoking.

The annual survey has been conducted in Pennsylvania since 1989. It is funded in every state by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey provides the Health Department with information about the health and personal health choices of Pennsylvania adults and contributes to important policy, fiscal and programmatic decisions. The department uses the data to target resources and programs to the populations most in need of assistance and to track progress and program effectiveness.

The full 2006 Pennsylvania Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey report is available at http://www.health.state.pa.us/stats.

CONTACT: Larissa Bedrick

(717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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