May 5, 2011
Contact: Kelley Elliott (267.350.7699 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Local data highlight women’s health disparities during National Women’s Health Week

PHILADELPHIA— In recognition of this year’s National Women’s Health Week campaign, It’s Your Time (May 8-11)¹, Public Health Management Corporation examined its data on key health indicators for women 18 years and older living in Southeastern Pennsylvania, such as health status and chronic conditions, physical activity, diet and obesity, preventive screenings, smoking and mental health. An analysis of Public Health Management Corporation’s Community Health Data Base (CHDB) 2010 Household Health Survey found approximately 276,300 women (17.2%) self-identify as being in fair or poor health in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region.
The survey also found that many women suffer from chronic illnesses including asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure. Specifically, 16.5% of women in Southeastern Pennsylvania have been diagnosed with asthma; one out of ten (10.1%) have been diagnosed with diabetes; and three out of ten (30.5%) have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Disparities in health status and chronic conditions among women are evident by geography, poverty status, and race and ethnicity.

Women (18+) in Philadelphia County are more likely to state they are in fair or poor health (23.7%) than those in Delaware (14.6%), Bucks (13.3%), Montgomery (12.5%) and Chester (12.1%) Counties.  In addition, women living below the Federal Poverty Line are much more likely (37.0%) than non-poor women (13.9%) to consider themselves in fair or poor health. Three out of ten Latina women (30.3%) self-identified as being in fair or poor health, as did with 24.6% of Black women. Approximately 14% of White women stated they are in fair or poor health.

National Women’s Health Week, coordinated by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, seeks to empower women to make their health a top priority. The national initiative encourages women to engage each week in at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of the two. In addition, National Women’s Health Week encourages women to eat a nutritious diet, obtain routine check-ups and screenings, avoid risky behaviors such as smoking and employ stress management techniques.

Additional key health findings for women 18 years of age and older in Southeastern Pennsylvania (SEPA) include:
• Approximately 21% of women exercise less than once per week (for 30 minutes at a time) compared with 17% of men.
• Approximately 41% of women eat two or fewer servings of fruits and vegetables per day—representing nearly 652,000 women across the region. 
• Nearly 420,000 women in the region (27%) are considered obese and another 459,500 are considered overweight (29.5%) based on the Body Mass Index (BMI).
• Approximately 38% of women have not had a Pap test in the past year, representing nearly 603,000 women in the region. This number has been slowly increasing since 2000. 
• Just under one-third of women across the region (30.1%) have not had a breast exam by a doctor or other health professional in the past year. 
• One fifth of women (19.6%) in SEPA currently smoke cigarettes (approximately 313,400). 
• Approximately 41% of women stated they experience high levels of stress in comparison with one third of men (33.4%).

The CHDB Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey is one of the largest regional health surveys in the country. Public Health Management Corporation’s CHDB is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, William Penn Foundation, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Foundation, CIGNA Foundation, Green Tree Community Health Foundation, United Way of North Penn, North Penn Community Health Foundation, the Scattergood Foundation and over 400 local agencies from the health, government, nonprofit and academic sectors.

For more information about the Community Health Data Base, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey or about women’s health in Southeastern Pennsylvania, contact Sarah Ingerman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267.350.7695 or visit

¹; National Women’s Health Week is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health



About PHMC

Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that creates and sustains healthier communities. PHMC uses best practices to improve community health through direct service, partnership, innovation, policy, research, technical assistance and a prepared workforce. PHMC has served the region since 1972. For more information on PHMC, visit