Local News

State Of Women's Health Revealed In N.C. Report

Posted August 13, 2003

— While North Carolina is showing improvement in some areas, a state health report card for women shows there is still a lot of work ahead.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Still, David Wright was shocked when his wife died from it.

"We did not expect her to have heart problems," Wright said.

According to the

North Carolina Women's Health Report Card

, that is just one of the problems women face.

The report, released by the North Carolina Program For Women's Health Research at UNC, based the report on health surveys and insurance information.

The UNC researchers examined health indicators for women from 1996 to 2001 and graded them on a scale from A to F.

The Tar Heel State gets an A for the number of women who get flu and pneumonia vaccines. It also gets high marks for preventing cervical cancer deaths.

That is followed by B's for heart disease and stroke deaths.

Researchers gave the state a D for high cholesterol and an F for obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

While the report found fewer women are smoking during pregnancy, infant mortality rates remain high.

"We still have, in North Carolina, one of the highest infant mortality rates in the United States," said Dr. Valerie Parisi, chairwoman of the UNC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Parisi said women need better access to care and health education.

"I think there's still a large segment of people that don't understand the connections between healthy behaviors and disease prevention," she said.

It is a message Wright wishes he had heard in time. Now he is speaking out to help families avoid what he has been through.

"It's difficult to try and change somebody you love. It's not easy, but if you love them you'll try," he said.

North Carolina also gets C's and D's for cases of sexually transmitted diseases.

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