April 20, 2009
Contact: Jamie Arehart (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267-350-7699)

One of the Largest Regional Health Surveys in the U.S. Expands to Berks County

Household Health Survey Data for Berks County Now Public

PHILADELPHIA-Public Health Management Corporation releases its 2008 Household Health Survey data for Berks County today. Conducted by PHMC's Community Health Data Base (CHDB), the survey, which examines the health and health care experiences of area residents, is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country.

Since 1983, CHDB has surveyed Philadelphia and, 1991, expanded to include all of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties). It now reaches Berks, Lancaster and Schuylkill counties for the first time. A snapshot of data highlights and trends for Berks County include:

Overall picture for adults (ages 18-64) in the past year

  • Well over half (63.2%) are overweight or obese
    • Men (69.2) are more likely to be overweight or obese than women (57.2%)
  • Almost half (43.1%) report a high level of stress
  • About one in four (24.8%) smoke every day or some days-over half of the County's smokers (56.3%) tried to quit smoking in the past year
  • 7.2% are uninsured-men are more likely to be uninsured (9.9%) than women (4.6%)
  • 41.5% have not used public recreation facilities in their neighborhoods
  • Nearly one in ten (9.4%) live below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line

Ethnicity trends

  • More than one third (38.2%) of Black/African American adults are uninsured
  • Latino adults (33.4%) are nearly six times more likely to live below 100% of the Federal Poverty Line than White adults (5.7%)-Black/African American adults are at 26.4%.
  • 15.3% of adults speak a language other than English at home (representing 47,600 residents)

Chronic disease in adults

  • More than one in four (26.7%) has high blood pressure (representing 83,000 adults)

Prevention and screenings

  • Almost half (47.2%) of men 45 years and older did not get tested for prostate cancer in the last year-60% of Latino men 45 years and older did not get tested
  • Nearly one third (31%) of women over 40 did not receive a mammogram in the last year-more than a quarter (26.6%) of women 18 and older did not receive a breast exam

Facts about CHDB's Household Health Survey

  • The 2008 Berks, Lancaster and Schuylkill Household Health Survey includes information on 3,000 households (1,000 households per county) on topic areas including health status, access to care, health behaviors, and health screenings.
  • The survey in Berks, Lancaster, and Schuylkill Counties is funded by the Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation.
  • Funders of the Community Health Data Base and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey include The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and over 350 local agencies.
  • Hundreds of organizations, including hospitals, government agencies, universities and managed care organizations, use the survey data to help them plan, market, and improve healthcare and social services in the region.
    More Information on 2008 Findings

CHDB Project Director Francine Axler and her team will debut a more detailed look at Berks County data on May 12 at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The event, which is free and provides lunch, will include more information on the survey, how to gain an all-access-pass to data as well a sneak peek of exclusive data trends and highlights. The meeting is co-sponsored by the Council on Chemical Abuse.

For media inquiries, please call contact Jamie Arehart at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267-350-7699. For more information on CHDB or the May 12 event, please contact Francine Axler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215-985-2521 or visit