The Guilford County Department of Public Health is pleased to issue the State of Guilford County’s Health Report for 2012. This report provides a quick way for community members, leaders, organizations and others to see how Guilford County is doing on key health issues.
In this report, we highlight Guilford County’s health ranking as published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Each year, they collaborate to publish the County Health Rankings for all counties in the United States. In 2012, Guilford County ranked 9th out of NC’s 100 counties, up in overall health from 10th the previous year.
Important local health news in the report includes:
- Live births in Guilford County increased slightly from 6,003 in 2010 to 6,049 in 2011, reversing a two-year downward trend from 2008 to 2010. In 2011, 45 babies died during their first year of life in Guilford County, down from 57 in 2010. Prenatal care has been shown to improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality; it is the focus of the Adopt-A-Mom (AAM) Program of the Guilford County Coalition of Infant Mortality. Created 21 years ago, this initiative ensures that all women in Guilford County have access to prenatal care, by coordinating the provision of prenatal care for women who are Medicaid ineligible, lack private insurance or personal funds to pay for prenatal care. Over 5,000 Adopt-A-Mom babies have been born healthy because of AAM. This year, the NC Public Health Association awarded the Adopt-A-Mom Program the GlaxoSmith Kline Foundation’s Child Health Award, including a $5,000 award.
- The US Department of Agriculture designated 15 census tracts in Guilford County as “food deserts” — nine in the city of Greensboro and six in High Point. This means many of our residents have limited access to healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The Department of Public Health is participating in a nine-county CDC-funded Community Transformation Grant Project that will support new farmer’s markets in food desert areas and help improve existing markets.
- Because Guilford County’s rates for HIV infection, syphilis and Chlamydia all exceed NC rates, the Department of Public Health’s HIV/STD health education staff partners with Nia Community Action Center, Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency and Triad Health Project to provide a comprehensive network of sexual health education and HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing in Guilford County. During the period of July 2010 to July 2012, staff and our partners provided HIV prevention counseling and testing and syphilis screening services to 9,696 community residents.
- Teen pregnancy in Guilford County continues to follow a downward trend for all females ages 15-19. In 2011, the teen pregnancy rate was 35.6 per 1,000 females for that age group, down from 41.7 in 2010. The Department of Public Health’s award-winning Smart Girls® Life Skills Program, now in its 19th year, has contributed to our county’s declining teen pregnancy rate. By working with over 800 middle and high school girls and their parents annually, this promising practice enhances self-esteem, increases knowledge about the risks of sexual behavior, encourages attitudes that teen dating violence is not acceptable and enhances parent-teen communication about sexuality. This program encourages teen girls to postpone early sexual involvement, or if sexually active, reduce the risks of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.