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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Honolulu mortality rate below U.S. average

By Greg Wiles
Advertiser Staff Writer


National Association of County and City Health Officials


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A new study of the nation's 54 largest cities shows their residents experience greater health risks than Americans on average. But Honolulu's risks appear to be among the lowest of the cities surveyed in many categories, and in some cases, were lower than the nation as a whole.

The 2007 "Big Cities Health Inventory: The Health of Urban USA," shows Honolulu had the lowest mortality rate among cities surveyed, and that its rate of 670 deaths per 100,000 people was below the national average of 801. Honolulu ranked 49th in terms of heart disease death rate, which was also below the U.S. average.

The report, released yesterday by the National Association of County and City Health Officials, shows residents of big cities generally have worse health. The overall death rate for the cities was 20 percent higher than the country, while the heart disease death rate was 16 percent higher. For all cancers, the rate was 18 percent higher than the national rate.

"Innovative 21st-century public health strategies are needed to relieve the pain in the cities, reduce disparities and assure that a child born in one of our large cities has the same chance at good health and long life as a child born in a small city, suburb or rural area," said Anthony Iton, director of the Alameda County, Calif., public health department, in a news statement. Iton serves as head of the national association's Metro Forum, sponsor of the report.

The report listed Las Vegas as having the worst overall death rate at 1,660 per 100,000 people, or more than twice the Honolulu rate. The Nevada city also topped the heart disease mortality rate list at 465, more than twice Honolulu's 178.

Honolulu had the lowest death rates for all cancers among the cities studied. This also went for the female breast cancer mortality rate and the diabetes death rate.

However, the news wasn't all good for Honolulu.

The city moved up the rankings when it came to suicide rate (No. 32) and the mortality rate for pneumonia and influenza (No. 37).

It ranked 21st for infant mortality, with 8 deaths per 1,000. That was above both the big-city average and the national rate of 6.8.

Reach Greg Wiles at gwiles@honoluluadvertiser.com.