The Public Health Division of the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services has been compiling a wealth of information about the overall health of the county’s residents and the health division just released the findings on the county’s website.

In addition to other health data, the report includes information on how Guilford County has responded to health issues identified in previous years as priorities, including “Healthy Eating and Active Living, Maternal and Child Health, and Behavioral Health, which includes both mental health and opioid dependence and overdose.”

By some measures, the state of Guilford County’s overall health is getting better, the report concludes.

For instance, mortality rates from some chronic diseases – notably heart disease and lung cancer – are improving.  The report found that, from 1998 to 2017, heart disease mortality rates decreased from 220 to 158 cases per 100,000 in population in Guilford County.  Lung cancer mortality rates have declined from 59 to 43 per 100,000 in population over that same period of time.

The report also states that teen pregnancy rates in Guilford County have seen a steady decline over the last decade, reaching a new low of 22.5 pregnancies per 1,000 for females between the ages of 15 and 19.

In Guilford County, about 92 percent of the residents live near “opportunities for physical activity,” such as parks and recreation centers.  That puts Guilford County in the top 10 percent of US counties when it comes to offerings for physical activity.

Another good sign: After several years of increases, opioid-related visits to hospital emergency rooms and other emergency providers went down from 390 opioid overdose visits in 2017 to 261 in 2018.

Despite those improvements, there’s growing cause for concern in some health areas.  The report found that many county residents continue to face a lack of access of healthy food options nearby.  Also, high rates of infant mortality continue to be a problem in Guilford County, as do premature births and low-birth-weight births.

The report also found that “racial and ethnic inequities persist across many health outcomes, from leading causes of death to birth outcomes and sexually transmitted diseases.”