California health report card shows lower rates for most diseases

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California is reporting statewide improvements in key public health measures, including rates for many chronic diseases, sexually-transmitted infections, motor vehicle crashes and accidental deaths, according to the  County Health Status Profiles 2013 report released today.

Overall, the 20th annual report shows a statewide drop in the rate of most illnesses, including all cancers,  heart disease, stroke and diabetes from 2009-2011, compared with 2006-2008. Also down were deaths from homicides, motor vehicle crashes and those from unintentional causes – including drug overdoses.  The number of AIDS and gonorrhea cases also fell.

At the same time, however, California recorded an increase in deaths from Alzheimer’s disease, and a slight uptick in the number of deaths from suicide and chronic liver disease. Incidents of the sexually-transmitted infection, Chlamydia, also climbed statewide.

This year’s nearly 100-page report was the first to compare state public health markers to national public health goals set by the federal government in its three-year-old Healthy People 2020 campaign.

While California met and exceeded many of the national goals  - including those for reducing deaths from cancer, homicide and motor vehicle crashes -  it fell below them in several other areas. Among them:  the number of deaths caused by female breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease and stroke.

County Health Status Profiles 2013