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The State of Durham’s Health: A 2013 Check-Up

Report examines improvements, concerns for health of Durham’s residents

Post Date:03/19/2013 2:15 PM

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            Media Contact:  Eric Nickens, Jr.
March 19, 2013                                                        Information and Communications Manager 
                                                                              Office: (919) 560-7624 / Cell: (919) 309-6092 

DURHAM, NC – How healthy is Durham? What is affecting the health of its residents? What groups of residents are experiencing poorer health, or do not get as much needed health care?

Much like the recommended annual physical for adults, Durham’s health gets a regular check-up too…and the results are in.

Every three years, Durham County conducts a Community Health Assessment (CHA) to describe the community’s health, celebrate our successes, and set priorities to make improvements. The last full CHA was released in 2011.

In the interim years, a much shorter health assessment is produced called Durham’s State of the County Health (SOTCH) report.

The Partnership for a Healthy Durham, a coalition of local agencies and communities with the goal of collaboratively improving the physical, mental, and social health and well-being of Durham’s residents, develops each report, using state and local health statistics to check our progress since the last full CHA.

Highlights from the 2012 State of the County Health Report:

Leading Causes of Death
• The top five leading causes of death in Durham County are: 
        1) Cancer 
        2) Diseases of the heart 
        3) Cerebrovascular disease 
        4) Chronic lower respiratory disease 
        5) Unintentional injuries (excluding those caused by motor vehicles)

• Fewer Durham County residents are dying from unnecessary causes: Durham’s homicide and infant mortality rate have both decreased.
• Education affects health: people with more education have better health. High school graduation rates in Durham continue to rise (from 63% in 2008 to 77% in 2012).
• Durham is implementing new programs to improve health. Examples include: 
        o “Healthy Mile Trails” being established to make walking for exercise easy (one currently 
            established and two planned for 2013). 
        o Bull City PlayStreets will close streets in five neighborhoods over the summer so that residents 
            can get out, exercise and interact with their neighbors.

• Obesity and its outcomes are still a priority. Less than half of high school students get adequate physical activity. 59% of adults are overweight or obese. The proportion of residents diagnosed with pre-diabetes is 8.9%.
• HIV rates remain high.
• Poverty affects health; poorer people have worse health outcomes. The poverty rate has increased annually from 13.6% in 2008 to 20.4% in 2011. 14.9% of residents needed to see a doctor in the past year but could not because of the cost.

The Partnership for a Healthy Durham continues to work to address these concerns. The community is encouraged to join to work toward making everyone in Durham healthy.

The 2012 State of the County Health report2011 Community Health Assessment and local health resource guides and links are available on the Partnership’s website,

For more information about the Partnership for a Healthy Durham, contact Partnership Coordinator Erika Samoff at 919-560-7833.

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