A recently released health report of California's 58 counties has shown Stanislaus County with several poor rankings among the most prevalent chronic diseases, including the worst death rate in the state for coronary heart disease.
The "County Health Status Profiles 2013" was researched and released by the California Department of Public Health, along with the California Conference of Local Health Officers, in coordination with National Public Health Week, which ends on Sunday.
The report shows the state as a whole has achieved important national health goals for reducing deaths due to cancer, motor vehicle crashes, homicide and suicide, and in reducing the incidence of AIDS, gonorrhea and low birth weight infants.
"These trends point to a healthier California," said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health. "However, far too many Californians still struggle with chronic diseases related to diet, physical activity and smoking. We all have a stake in building a healthier California."
With a few exceptions, Stanislaus County had death rates higher than the state average in multiple classifications of chronic diseases.
Stanislaus County was ranked 39th for the overall death rate, with one death per 143 people, according to the report's data. The state average was one death per 159 people.
Based on the report, Stanislaus County was ranked in the bottom third for: Colorectal cancer (47th); diabetes (43rd); Alzheimer's (54th); coronary heart disease (58th); strokes (42nd); influenza/pneumonia (46th); homicides (42nd); and drug-induced deaths (40th).
"We have a significant burden of chronic diseases in this county, most notably in coronary heart disease," said Dr. John Walker, the public health officer for Stanislaus County Health Services Agency. "We are making progress in several areas, but we are still very concerned about the rates of chronic disease in this county."
Stanislaus county was ranked in the middle third of all the counties for: All cancers (33rd); lung cancer ( 36th); respiratory failure (38th); liver disease/cirrhosis (37th); accidents (31st); motor vehicle crashes ( 32nd); suicides (24th); firearm-related deaths (27th); and infant mortality (37th).
The areas that Stanislaus County fared better than the state average were for: Breast cancer (28th); prostate cancer (11th); and AIDS (40th). Stanislaus County was among the 56 counties and the state to surpass the national goal of deaths caused by AIDS.
Statewide, there were declines in deaths due to heart disease, stroke, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and in the incidence of TB. In contrast, the report identified increases in deaths due to Alzheimer's disease and in the incidence of chlamydia.