Health in Whatcom County, Washington
How do we know that people and communities are healthy? Health is about how people are doing in terms of their physical and mental health at every age. It has to do with how people feel they are doing, and whether health stops them from living their life. It is about their health conditions and their health outcomes. It is about both health behaviors and about whether people have access to health services and health insurance. Just as a person and a community's social well-being can affect their health, health can affect a person's and a community's social well-being. Health care costs are the most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Rising health care costs have made it difficult for cities and states to invest in education, social services, housing and other areas that would promote a community's well-being.
What is the rate of "deaths of despair" in Whatcom County, Washington?
What this measures: The number of people out of 100,000 who died due to drug overdose, alcohol or suicide.
Why this matters: These deaths are sometimes called "deaths of despair." They can arise from mental health or addictions issues or from social issues. They are worsened when people feel hopeless about their lives. This can happen when people don't have opportunities. Importantly, deaths of despair are often preventable and so are a ripe target for intervention.
What this relates to: Well-being, premature death, economy, community vitality, social support.
Data source: Data was queried from CDC Wonder based on the following parameters: Underlying Cause of Death, alcohol-related diseases (K70, K73–74, X45, Y15), suicide (X60–84, Y87.0), and drug- and alcohol-related poisonings (X40–44, Y10–14, Y45, 47, 49).
What is the infant mortality rate in Whatcom County, Washington?
What this measures: The number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age.
Why this matters: This relates to whether there are strong health and social systems and conditions in place before, during, and after birth.
What this relates to: all of the social determinants, equity, poverty, prenatal care
Data source: Infant Mortality data was queried from CDC Wonder's Linked Birth/Death records. Rates for counties with fewer than 20 deaths are not reported.
HEALTH CONDITIONS AND DISEASES
What percentage of adults are obese in Whatcom County, Washington?
What this measures: The percent of adults who have a body mass index greater than 30 (obese).
Why this matters: Obesity is linked to serious health problems. This includes diabetes, heart disease, asthma, some cancers, and poor mental health. Obesity can also lead to poorer quality of life. It can make it harder to get a job. It can lead to economic costs from medical bills and lost productivity.
What this relates to: Physical and mental health outcomes, cost, economy.
Data source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Diabetes Home, County Data Indicators.
HEALTH CARE INFRASTRUCTURE
How many people lack health insurance coverage in Whatcom County, Washington?
What this measures: The percentage of the population that does not have health insurance.
Why this matters: People without health insurance often wait to seek treatment because of cost. As a result, they have poorer health compared to those with health insurance. When people have good health insurance, they are more likely to get preventive care, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings and flu shots. This can help prevent them from getting life-threatening and costly health conditions. Minorities and people who are poor are less likely than the general population to be insured. People without health insurance have difficulty getting health care. They are also more likely to face unexpected costs that leave them bankrupt.
What this relates to: Access to good employment, health outcomes, financial insecurity.
Data source: American Community Survey 5-year estimates, Table S2701.
Other Interesting Measures
• Overall health: Percent of adults self-reporting very good or excellent general health. Source: BRFSS.
• Physical health: Percent of adults self-reporting physical health "not good" for >14 days during the past 30 days. Source: BRFSS.
• Mental health: Percent of adults self-reporting mental health "not good" for >14 days during the past 30 days. Source: BRFSS.
• Physical health: average number of days during the past 30 days adults’ self-reported physical health was not good. Source: BRFSS.
• Mental health: average number of days during the past 30 days adults’ self-reported mental health was not good. Source: BRFSS.
• Measure name. Source: BRFSS.
• Infant mortality rate (number of deaths per 1,000 live births). Source: National Survey of
Children’s Health (NSCH).
• Maternal mortality rate (number of deaths per 100,000 live births). Source: CDC Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System.
• Teen pregnancies: Percent of females age 15-19 who gave birth within past 12 months. Source: Census.
HEALTH CONDITIONS AND RISK FACTORS
• Heart Disease Prevalence: Percent of older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) diagnosed with heart disease. Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
• Cancer prevalence: Percent of older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) diagnosed with cancer. Source: CMS.
• Childhood trauma: Percent of children 0-17 who have 1 or more adverse childhood events (ACEs). Source: National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH).
• Percent of older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) diagnosed with depression. Source: CMS.
• Percent of adults experiencing serious mental health issues/ mental illness. Source: CMS.
• Childhood vaccination rates: Percent of children with age-appropriate vaccination between ages 19-35 months. Source: CDC, NCHS.
• Medicare beneficiaries with primary care visit:
Percent of older adults (Medicare beneficiaries) with 1+ preventive care visit within past year. Source: CMS.
• Adults with no leisure-time physical activity: Percent of adults who did not participate in leisure-time physical activities or exercise in past month. Source: CMS.
• Percent of adults engaging in advance care planning (discussions, proxy selected, advance directive on file). Source: To be developed.
HEALTH CARE INFRASTRUCTURE
• Percent of residents <65 without health insurance. Source: Census, ACS.
• Number of primary care doctors per 100,000 population. Source: Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
• Number of dentists/100,000 population. Source: American Dental Association.
• Number of mental health providers/100,000 population. Source: CMS.