Health & wellness

Health of Boston report: Outcomes improve for some infants in Boston

The latest Health of Boston Report is out. This year, the report published by the Boston Public Health Commission delves into data on the city’s neighborhoods to find out how each is doing on important health indicators, such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, and maternal and infant health.

The full report includes loads of information about each neighborhood’s health assets and makeup. Context for that work is laid out in a newsletter called Place Matters.

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A few main findings for Boston, as a whole:

-- Over the five years ending in 2010, the average infant mortality rate in the city was 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births. The rate was 3.4 for white infants and 3 for Asian infants. The rates were must higher for black and Latino infants, at 10.9 and 6.1 respectively. While that average is lower than in past years for black babies, it is higher for Latinos.

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Infant mortality is generally seen as an indicator of broader health status among a particular group and has become a special focus of the city’s public health officials.

-- The rate of teenagers having babies is dropping. In 2007, there were 23 births among every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17. In 2010, there were 18.8, though that’s slightly higher than in 2009.

-- The percentage of low-weight and preterm births were down in 2010 compared with 2005 but slightly higher than in 2009.

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-- The death rate from stroke or related causes fell from 40.5 people per 100,000 residents in 2005 to 34.6 in 2010.

-- The homicide rate for 2010, at 9.4 per 100,000 people, was higher than in any of the previous five years. The same was true for the suicide rate, at 7.9 deaths per 100,000 people.

-- More than one in five adults in Boston is obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more. There has been little change in the number of adults who report having diabetes or asthma.

Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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