The Public Health Division of the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services (GCDHHS) is pleased to issue the State of Guilford County’s Health Report (SOTCH) for 2014. This report provides a quick way for community members, leaders, organizations and others to see how Guilford County is responding to leading health issues, such as infant mortality, chronic disease rates and leading causes of death. The 2014 SOTCH Report also provides information on health priorities identified in the 2012-2013 Community Health Assessment and highlights recent data and progress made on these pressing health priorities.
“While we are pleased to see some of our important health indicators improve, our Department and staff continues to focus on partnering with the community and residents to address the issues that affect the health of our county,” stated Merle Green, Health Director.
Important updates on for each of the health priority areas include:
Poor Birth Outcomes
- In 2013, 53 babies died during their first year of life in Guilford County, up slightly from 49 in 2012. The overall infant mortality rate in 2013 was 8.6 per 1000 live births but racial and ethnic disparities persist. The rate for African Americans was 12.7 per 1,000 live births, as compared to 8.0 for Whites and 3.7 for Hispanics.
- Prenatal care has been shown to improve birth outcomes; however, the percentage of women entering late into prenatal care or not receiving prenatal care increased across all racial and ethnic groups between 2012 and 2013.
- In July 2013, GCDHHS’s Division of Public Health Maternity Clinics began offering CenteringPregnancy™ prenatal care, which integrates health assessment, education and support within a group setting. Since its inception, Public Health has served 128 expectant women through 19 CenteringPregnancy™ groups, 11 in Greensboro and 9 in High Point. Eight of these 19 groups were conducted in Spanish. The overall preterm birth rate for this group of women was 9.4 percent and 5.5 percent of the babies were low birth weight. In Guilford County, 10.6 percent of babies are preterm and 9.4 percent are low birth weight.
- Of the 3,976 deaths in 2013, about two-thirds of all deaths in Guilford County were due to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic lower respiratory disease.
- In the past 18 years, there have been long term improvements in chronic disease mortality rates for heart disease, cancer and stroke. Despite these improvements racial disparities still persist; African-American residents tend to have higher age-adjusted chronic disease death rates than Whites.
- Poor nutrition is a risk factor for these chronic diseases. For some access to healthy affordable foods is a challenge. The US Department of Agriculture designated 24 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.
- In 2014, the Division of Public Health and community partners led a pilot of the Mobile Oasis Farmers Market that sold 1,482 pounds of fresh produce to 474 customers within two food desert areas in Greensboro. This effort included the purchase and conversion of a mobile market trailer, directing the community outreach/marketing campaign and educating consumers about healthy foods. Partners included: the City of Greensboro’s Parks and Recreation Department, Vision Tree Community Development Corporation (CDC), The University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the East Market Street Development Corporation. The mobile market is slated to continue in 2015.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
- Guilford County had consistently higher rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV infection compared to North Carolina rates.
- Because Guilford County’s rates for HIV infection, syphilis and Chlamydia all exceed NC rates, health education staff with Public Health Division partners with Nia Community Action Center, Piedmont Health Services and Sickle Cell Agency and Triad Health Project to provide a network of testing and counseling services. During the period of July 2013 to December 2014, public health staff and partners provided HIV & syphilis screenings to 5,347 residents as well as 3,347 gonorrhea & chlamydia screenings.
For more information on these reports or other health statistics, contact Guilford County Department of Public Health at 336-641-7777 or go to our Health Statistics page.