El Paso County Public Health Indicators Report

By: AP
By: AP

A new report released by El Paso County Public Health indicates several areas of concern, including high rates of obesity and a large number of people living without health insurance.

According to El Paso County Public Health, here are the highlights of the report:

Access to Care: About 13 percent of El Paso County residents do not have any form of public or private health insurance. Nearly two-thirds of residents carry health insurance through an employer.

Environmental Health: While indoor radon testing of homes is not mandated in Colorado, 36 percent of adults in El Paso County stated they had their home tested for radon. For many counties in Colorado (including El Paso), 40 to 60 percent of homes tested for radon showed results above the Environmental Protection Agency action level of four picocuries per liter.

Food Safety: In El Paso County and Colorado over the past several years, only rates of Salmonella infection have shown a sustained decrease. In 2011, licensed retail food establishments in El Paso County received 4,552 regular inspections to ensure compliance with food safety regulations.

Healthy Eating and Active Living: In El Paso County, an estimated 58 percent of adults are overweight or obese, and almost 29 percent of children between the ages of 2 to 14 were either overweight or obese. Adults who are obese are about two to five times more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse: Suicide rates are substantially higher among males than females in El Paso County, and rates are higher in people ages 35 and older. Colorado high school students who have symptoms of depression are more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking cigarettes and binge drinking.

Motor Vehicle Injuries: Rates of motor vehicle traffic deaths are substantially higher among teenagers and are also greater among males of any age. One out of five motor vehicle traffic fatalities involved a motorcyclist, and in three-quarters of motorcycle deaths the driver or rider was not wearing a helmet.

Oral Health: Approximately 35 percent of El Paso County residents did not have dental insurance in 2011. Only 44 percent of people without current dental insurance coverage reported visiting a dentist, as compared to 77 percent of those with dental insurance.

Tobacco Use: Although cigarette smoking rates among adults in El Paso County have declined in recent years, nearly 18 percent of adults are current smokers. Smoking is more common among people 18 to 34 years of age and in adults with less than a high school education.

Unsafe Sexual Practices and Teen Pregnancy: Teen birth rates in El Paso County have been trending downward in the past decade. However, an estimated 70 percent of teen pregnancies were unwanted or mistimed. The rates of Chlamydia and gonorrhea in El Paso County remain higher than the state average.

Vaccine-Preventable Infectious Diseases: Ninety-three percent of Colorado kindergarteners are up-to-date on pertussis (whooping cough) immunization, but only 79 percent are up-to-date on measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Roughly six percent of kindergarteners exempted from receiving one or more school-required vaccines.

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