UNC report provides snapshot of North Carolina women’s health

Center for Women’s Health Research releases 2014 North Carolina Women's Health Report Card

UNC report provides snapshot of North Carolina women’s health
click to enlarge
2014 NC Women's Health Report Card

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) Center for Women's Health Research (CWHR) released their eighth-edition, 2014 North Carolina Women's Health Report Card May 12.

The document is a progress report on the health and health care needs of North Carolina's 5+ million women. Preventive health, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, perinatal health, mental health and substance abuse are the key measures examined. It is the only health report of its kind in North Carolina.

Each edition is released biennially and tracks the state’s female health statistics in two year increments. CWHR utilizes the findings to identify and direct their research priorities.

 “There are numerous conditions and diseases that affect women differently from men,” said Dr. Wendy Brewster, Director of CWHR. “It is important that we target our resources wisely in these gap-areas to preserve the health of our entire community.

Highlights of the 2012 North Carolina Women's Health Report Card include:

Positive findings:

  • In 2012, more women had health insurance than previous years.
  • Preventative screening rates continue to rise for North Carolina women. Data shows the state is exceeding Healthy People 2020 goals for mammograms, colonoscopies, and dental care.
  • Eighty percent of pregnant North Carolina women are seeking first trimester prenatal care, and 44.7% are seeking crucial dental care during pregnancy.

Adverse findings:

  • The percent of North Carolina women classified as obese or overweight exceed the women in a recommended weight range.
  • Binge drinking and smoking rates for women in North Carolina exceed national averages.
  • Rates for initiating breast-feeding are comparative to the national average; however, by the eight-week mark the percent of mothers exclusively breast-feeding drops sharply and is below the national average.

“The legislature has the difficult task of prioritizing issues that are important to the state and advising and leading the people of North Carolina through these challenging times,” said Brewster.  “The report card provides additional data that enables our leaders to make informed decisions.”

The report card is distributed to medical and public health professionals, policy makers, researchers and women's health advocacy groups throughout the state. Data was compiled from state health behavior surveys, vital statistics, disease reporting systems, and US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau reports. 

The mission of CWHR is to improve women’s health through research by focusing on diseases, disorders and conditions that affect women only, women predominately, and/or women differently than men. Research efforts that require the most attention are identified through the collection and analysis of data for the report card. Current areas of research targeted by the Center include perinatal health, cancers affecting women, obesity, diabetes, women’s cardiovascular health, women’s mental health and substance abuse.

A full copy the 2014 North Carolina Women’s Health Report Card may be downloaded at www.med.unc.edu/cwhr.