The Telegram
  • Breastfeeding, tobacco big issues for local health assessment

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  • A new Oneida and Herkimer County Community Health Assessment is focusing on preventing tobacco-related illnesses and breastfeeding
    A coalition of health groups is working on an action plan in those areas.
    A draft data book for the health assessment has been posted online on the St. Elizabeth Medical Center website.
    The data shows that 25.1 percent of Oneida County adult residents smoked in 2009, compared to only 17percent statewide. In Herkimer County, only 20.9 percent of adults smoked, but 33 percent of Herkimer County high school students smoked. That compares to 21 percent of Oneida County high school students and 21.2 percent of students stataewide.
    Although the rates of breastfeeding in both counties are above the state average, the data book notes that black and Latina women are considerably less likely to breastfeed than white women. Women from Somalia and Burma were much more likely to breastfeed.
    The 2013 health assessment was conducted by a team including representative of local hospitals, the Oneida County Health Department and community agencies with technical support from faculty and staff of the Central New York Master of Public Health Program. The work group included representatives from Herkimer County.
    The assessment was launched at a community health forum in May, at which participants identified and prioritized health system and health status issues.
    The 93-page draft report includes data on chronic diseases, lifestyle, disease prevention, environmental and safety issues, sexually transmitted diseases, infectious diseases, mental health, substance abuse and maternal, infant and child health.
    The book can be accessed on the St. Elizabeth Medical Center website at www.stemc.org/news/item/432.
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