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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

Use it to learn about health, resources and our community

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, August 08, 2018) - Use a new City report to better understand our community's health - which sees improvement in many areas such as pregnancy and birth outcomes, childhood vaccination rates, rates of smoking, and increasing life expectancy but still shows troubling disparities for African Americans and other people of color.

The report from Berkeley Public Health may also help you or your neighbors better understand the health issues you face and how those challenges may align with geographic, income, or educational trends.

Cover of 2018 Berkeley Health Status ReportIssued on a periodic basis, the Health Status Report is intended to spark community conversations, spur collaboration, and inform decision-making on improving community health and guide everyone toward better health, regardless of education, income, or race. You can also use it to learn about programs and services for yourself or others.

"Having a clear picture of our community's health is the first step in making smarter health decisions for all," says Dr. Lisa Hernandez, the City of Berkeley Health Officer. "It's the charge of the entire community to create a healthy Berkeley."

The comprehensive report about health uses national, state, and local data. It was researched and written to better understand disparities among different groups, show trends over time and to help guide the work of Berkeley Public Health and partners to develop policy and programs.

Despite the healthy progress Berkeley is making in many areas, it is not evenly spread and not everyone has equal access to resources.

African Americans and other people of color die prematurely and are more likely than White people to experience a wide variety of poor health conditions throughout their lives. Residents in neighborhoods that have been historically under-resourced and overexposed to unhealthy conditions also show a higher incidence of disease.

The 2018 Health Status Report highlights areas of improvement and persistent challenges in achieving health equity:

  • The rates of low birth weight and premature infants for everyone has improved over time. For the first time ever recorded, African Americans in Berkeley meet national goals on premature births. While this is important progress, a disparity still persists as African American babies are 2 times more likely to be born prematurely, and twice as likely to be born with a low birth weight when compared to Whites.

  • Hypertension is increasing in all people in Berkeley. Hospitalization rates due to high blood pressure for the overall population is the highest in a decade. The hospitalization rate for African Americans has sharply increased and is over five times that of the total population.

  • From 2007 to 2016, Berkeley's mortality rate declined 14%. This has resulted in an increase in life expectancy from 82 to 85 years. However, African Americans are more likely to die prematurely than any other racial/ethnic group in Berkeley.

While the health inequities we see are not new or unique to Berkeley, they are unjust, unacceptable, and rooted in economic, social, and environmental inequities. The Public Health Division has long been committed to addressing the health disparities found in Berkeley through intentional, thoughtful, and strategic programming. The Berkeley Black Infant Health Program; Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Program; and Public Health Nursing services are designed to improve health outcomes for pregnant women, new mothers, young children and families. The Heart 2 Heart Program's continued collaboration with LifeLong Medical Care addresses cardiovascular disease in South Berkeley, a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of hypertensive heart disease and stroke.

Read the 2018 Health Status Report and learn more about the health of our community.


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