PHILADELPHIA–The Health Department’s latest Health of the City report shows declines in smoking and sweetened beverage consumption, both of which are behaviors that can lead to heart disease, Philadelphia’s leading cause of death. However, chronic diseases, the opioid epidemic, and a rising rate of gun violence continue to negatively impact the overall health of the city.
The city’s Department of Public Health produces the annual report to help officials, health-care providers, and residents better understand factors influencing health. Data come from a variety of sources, including Pennsylvania’s telephone-based population survey of behavioral risk factors.
By Marie McCullough
The difference in health between African Americans and other races is “because of poverty, lower levels of employment, and historical discrimination and lack of opportunity,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, commissioner of the city’s Department of Public Health.
“Closing the racial gap in health will require improving African-Americans’ educations, employment, and income opportunities as well as creating environments that promote healthy behaviors — such as healthy diet, physical activity, and avoidance of tobacco, alcohol and drugs.”
By John Mitchell