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CDC Study Highlights Health Concerns in Youngstown - WKBN

The Centers for Disease Control has a new tool to help cities, including Youngstown, pinpoint their major health concerns.

It’s the first time that Youngstown Health Commissioner Erin Bishop has city-wide data to analyze. She said she believes that the CDC’s 500 Cities Project will be a great benefit, instead of having to rely on county-wide data.

The report shows at the neighborhood level which parts of the city are having problems with obesity, smoking, high blood pressure and other health issues.



Bishop said there are a few things that stood out from the report.

“In the same neighborhood where I’m seeing the high incidences of diseases, I’m also seeing lower incidences of people that have health insurance, that get their screenings,” she said.

Bishop said problems can be found on the north and east sides of the cities, but the study shows that the southwest side of Youngstown is free from many instances of diseases and obesity.

According to the study, there is a higher prevalence of most health issues in Youngstown than across the nation. Those include arthritis, asthma, high blood pressure, cholesterol and even tooth loss.

The study also found that there were more Youngstown residents in poor mental and physical health than the nationwide average.

One positive — cancer rates are lower in Youngstown than the national average. Bishop said these numbers may reveal a different conclusion, however.

“Or, we have a lot of people that are undetected. That’s what kinda concerns me. When I think of breast cancer, and they’re not getting their mammograms and they’re not getting the prostate exams, they’re not getting their PSA tests,” she said.

The city has programs like the African American Walk in August, which has a goal of getting 150 men screened for PSA (prostate-specific antigen).

The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation and Goodness Grows want to provide options for those places which have no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The data from the 500 Cities Project will help the city write grant proposals to target where to spend the money wisely.

“People often think, ‘Why is it in the same neighborhoods? Why are they getting the money?’ That’s because that’s the highest need and where we have the most people that we can help change,” Bishop said.

Starting in May, the city will be part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It started in the 1960s, and this will be the first time Youngstown has been included to get screenings for people and collect more relevant data.

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