State Has Improved in Several ‘Key Health Status Indicators,’ New DHS Report Finds
The state continues to make progress in several "key health status indicators," including prenatal care and AIDS, syphilis and measles rates, according to a new report issued yesterday by the Department of Health Services in cooperation with the California Conference of Local Health Officers. The report, titled "County Health Status Profiles 2002," found:
- AIDS: The rate of reported AIDS cases among individuals ages 13 and older dropped from 37 cases per 100,000 state residents between 1995 and 1997 to 21.3 cases per 100,000 state residents between 1998 and 2000 -- a 42.3% decrease. Fifty-three counties reported a decrease in the rate of reported AIDS cases.
- Breastfeeding initiation: 81.2% of new mothers began to breastfeed between 1998 and 2000, which exceeded the state's Healthy People 2010 initiative goal of 75%. Fifty-three counties met or exceeded the goal.
- Measles: The rate of measles in the state is .04 cases per 100,000 state residents per year, or less than 15 cases. Forty-seven counties reported that they met the Healthy People 2010 initiative goal of no measles cases between 1998 and 2000.
- Prenatal care: About 76% of new mothers in the state between 1998 and 2000 received "adequate" prenatal care, a 12.9% increase over the rate between 1995 and 1997. In addition, 50 counties reported that the rate of new mothers who received adequate prenatal care had increased.
- Syphilis: The rate of syphilis in the state is 0.6 cases per 100,000 state residents. Thirty-six counties reported syphilis rates lower than the Healthy People 2010 initiative goal of 0.2 cases per 100,000 state residents (Office of the Governor release, 4/3).
The DHS report also found that the state's teen birth rate dropped 4.2% between 1999 and 2000 to reach one of the lowest levels in decades, the Los Angeles Times reports. In 2000, the state reported a teen birth rate of 48.1 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19, bringing the state's rate just below the national average of 48.7 births per 1,000 teen girls. Furthermore, teen birth rates declined among teens in every ethnic group. The birth rate among African-American girls dropped from 63 births per 1,000 girls in 1999 to 59.9 births per 1,000 girls in 2000. Although the birth rate among Latinas dropped slightly, the number "remains stubbornly high" at more than 90 births per 1,000 girls. The state's overall teen birth rate declined by a total of 31.3% during the 1990s, "mirroring a national trend" of decreased sexual activity and increased contraception use among teens, health officials said. DHS issued the report as part of the state's Public Health Week, which runs until April 7 (Rivera, Los Angeles Times, 4/4). The DHS report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.