Death rates decline for cancer, heart disease, stroke

April 29, 2010

By Daniel Weintraub

California met federal health goals for reducing death rates from cancer, heart disease and stroke last year and improved its health status in 20 of 26 categories tracked by the state, according to a health status report card released Thursday by the Department of Public Health.

“The good news is that we are meeting many key national objectives for good health,” Dr. Mark Horton, the state’s public health director, said in a statement. “We remain committed to doing all we can to improve public health across all measures.”

The annual report showed that California met federal goals for reducing death rates for all cancers, lung cancer, female breast cancer, prostate cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke. California also met the national objectives related to initiating breastfeeding and infant mortality.

The report showed improvements in deaths from stroke, influenza/pneumonia, coronary heart disease, motor vehicle crashes, gunfire, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and homicide. There have also been fewer reported new AIDS and tuberculosis diagnoses. The six indicators with increases were Alzheimer’s disease, births to adolescent mothers, chlamydia, drug-induced deaths, low birth weight infants and suicide.

The report uses three-year averages to compare death rates and the reported incidence of certain health status indicators in 2003-2005 with those in 2006-2008. It shows the most dramatic decreases in the age-adjusted death rates and/or crude case rates per 100,000 population in the following 11 areas:

* Stroke: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 40.8 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 21.1 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 51.7

* Reported Incidence of AIDS: case rate for age 13 and over was 11.6 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 17.7 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 14.1

* Influenza/Pneumonia: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 19.6 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 17.6 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 23.8.

* Coronary Heart Disease: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 137.1 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 15.9 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 163.1.

* Reported Incidence of Tuberculosis: The 2006 through 2008 case rate for tuberculosis was 7.2 cases per 100,000 population, a decrease of 13.3 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 8.3.

* Motor Vehicle Traffic Crashes: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 10.3 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 12.7 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 11.8.

* Firearm-Related: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 8.5 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 9.6 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 9.4.

* Prostate Cancer: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 21.8 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 8.4 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 23.8.

* Lung Cancer: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 38.1 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 8.2 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 41.5.

* Colorectal Cancer: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 14.7 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 8.1 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 16.0.

* Homicide: The 2006 through 2008 age-adjusted death rate was 6.3 per 100,000 population, a decrease of 7.4 percent from the 2003 through 2005 rate of 6.8.

To download the full report, click here.

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