Survey Identifies Health Issues in Six Chicago Communities, Leads to Targeted Interventions

Conducting a health assessment survey to improve health outcomes in Chicago communities

From January 2002 through May 2004, a team of researchers led by Steven Whitman, PhD, of Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center of Chicago, conducted a health assessment survey in six communities of Chicago in order to establish an evidence base from which health improvement strategies can be developed and targeted most effectively.

Researchers interviewed a total of 1,699 adults, along with primary caretakers for 811 children. The interviews covered five major topics: health conditions, health behaviors and attitudes, health care access, quality of life and other social or environmental factors.

Key Findings: Among the key findings of the survey:

  • Almost two out of every three children (ranging from 58 to 68%) in the five heavily minority communities were either overweight or obese, compared with 26 percent of children nationally and 23 percent in the predominately white community.
  • Approximately one quarter of children in four of the six communities were likely to have asthma, compared with a national average of 12 percent.
  • In four mostly minority communities, high proportions of adults smoked (ranging from 32 to 39 percent), compared with a national average of 23 percent.

The findings led to a set of Recommendations and Policy Implications, described in this report.

Since the close of the grant, the project team has been working with three task forces it established to find solutions to some of the health problems delineated in the survey.

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