Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Data Reveal Health Problems, Risks by Neighborhood

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Data from a new Utah Department of Health (UDOH) report are being used to identify links between risk and health problems that impact “small areas” across the state. 

“Small areas” refers to a set of 63 geographic locales in Utah grouped by ZIP code and according to similar population sizes and political boundaries. These areas are especially useful for assessing health needs at the community level and targeting programs to those at greatest risk for injury and poor health outcomes. 

“This is the first time our department has put together a report with such a broad set of health indicators by Utah Small Areas,” said Michael Friedrichs, UDOH epidemiologist. “The indicators were chosen because they relate to long-term health outcomes in our state’s chronic disease and health promotion plan, and are critical to improving Utahns’ overall health.” 

The report identified six communities with both significantly higher rates of asthma emergency department visits and adults exposed to secondhand smoke. The areas include Kearns, Downtown Salt Lake City, Glendale, South Salt Lake, West Valley East, and Ben Lomond. Conversely, the same pattern was true for 10 small areas with significantly lower asthma ED visits and a lower percentage of adults exposed to secondhand smoke (Cache County Other/Rich County, Bountiful, Farmington/Centerville, Riverton/Draper, South Jordan, Cedar City, Summit County, American Fork/Alpine, Springville/Spanish Fork, and Utah County South). 

We know from national studies that environmental triggers like secondhand smoke play an important role in asthma severity and management,” said Lori Mau, UDOH Asthma Program. “The data underscore why it’s important to identify and control multiple asthma triggers at the same time, rather than focusing on just one management strategy,” Mau added. 

Tobacco use in Utah was also studied. “Even though Utah has the lowest smoking rate in the nation, we still have more than 200,000 tobacco users,” said Adam Bramwell, UDOH Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. “The report is incredibly important to our smoking cessation efforts, as it shows right where tobacco users live. Now we’ll use the information to connect those residents to Utah’s many tobacco cessation resources available at our new website,” Bramwell said.

The report summarizes data on 17 different topics presented in tables, graphs, and maps to help the reader see where health problems are concentrated and how they may impact each other. Topics in the report include:

Prescription Opioid Deaths
Cancer Deaths
Cardiovascular Disease Deaths
Current Adult Cigarette Smokers
Adult Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Obese Adults
Physically Active Adults
Fall Hospitalizations, Ages 65+
Infants Receiving First Trimester Prenatal Care
Female Breast Cancer Screenings, Ages 40+
Colon Cancer Screenings, Ages 50+
Pre-diabetic Adults
Adults Controlling High Blood Pressure
Diabetic Adults Receiving Diabetes Education
Asthma Emergency Department Visits
Adults with Arthritis Limited by Arthritis 
For a full copy of the Bureau of Health Promotion Small Area Report, visit

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Media Contacts:

Michael Friedrichs (o) 801-538-6244 
Adam Bramwell (m) 801-380-0780

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Utah Teens Tanning Less

Salt Lake City – The Utah Department of Health recently published an article in the Journal of Skin Cancer regarding the effectiveness of mandated restrictions on youth tanning across the state.  Passed in 2012, Senate Bill 41 requires all minors to have parental consent or a physician’s note each time they visit an indoor tanning salon.

An evaluation of Utah students in grades 8, 10, and 12 who reported using an indoor tanning device in the year before the law went into effect and again the year after suggests the restrictions contributed to a significant reduction in self-reported indoor tanning. The 2013 rate of 7.7% is a 36 percent drop from the 2011 rate of 12%.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation, including that from indoor tanning devices, is known to cause melanoma. Utah’s 2006-2010 melanoma incidence is 61% higher than the national rate, at 31 per 100,000 people and 19.3 per 100,000 people, respectively. Using indoor tanning devices during the teenage and young adult years significantly increases the risk of developing melanoma, which is one of the most common types of cancer among older teens and young adults.

The evaluation also analyzed characteristics of Utah teens who continued to use indoor tanning devices in 2013 despite the more restrictive regulations. It found that teen girls, older teens, and teens who use tobacco and alcohol were the most likely to continue tanning. Data were collected through the Utah Department of Human Services’ 2011 and 2013 Prevention Needs Assessment surveys.

While results of the study should be interpreted with caution due to limitations of the survey data and the potential effect of other ongoing sun safety campaigns, the findings do suggest that passage of the more restrictive regulations played a role in significantly reducing teen tanning in a relatively short period of time. Efforts to enforce tanning regulations and behavioral risk interventions may further reduce the numbers of teens who report using indoor tanning devices.

The article may be accessed online at
For more information on skin cancer prevention and education, visit


Media Contact:
Brenda Nelson
Media Coordinator
801-538-6189 (o) 435-849-1759 (m)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Safe Kids Coalitions Offer Free Car Seat Inspections During Child Passenger Safety Week

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Safe Kids Utah urges parents and caregivers to make sure their car seats and booster seats are properly installed during National Child Passenger Safety Week, September 14-20.  Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of preventable deaths and injuries to children in the United States. “Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death in a crash by as much as 71 percent,” said Cambree Applegate, Safe Kids Utah Coordinator.

Car seat inspections offer drivers and caregivers the chance to get assistance and guidance from certified car seat technicians on how to properly install their child safety and booster seats.  “Car seats are complicated!” said Applegate. “But we know parents and caregivers want what is best for the ones they love, so taking just a few minutes to get your car seats checked is a simple way help keep children safe on the road.”

Free car seat checks will be held across Utah during National Child Passenger Safety Week.  Each event will have certified technicians on site to help parents ensure their seats are installed correctly. Technicians will also talk about steps to take as their child grows and best practices to make sure their child is as safe as possible while riding in the car.  Events will be held:

Monday, Sept. 15 – Information booth from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Wasatch High School (930 South 500 East, Heber)
Tuesday, Sept. 16 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hansen Motor Company (1175 South 500 West, Brigham City)
Tuesday, Sept. 16 – Car seat checks and information booth from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of South Valley (244 East Myrtle Avenue, Murray)
Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Northwest Recreation Center (1300 West 300 North, Salt Lake City)
Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at High Country Auto
(275 North Main, Richfield)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Tooele City Library (123 West Vine Street, Tooele)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checkpoint from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Farmington Old Navy (270 North East Promontory, Farmington)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checkpoint from 2 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Primary Children’s Riverton Outpatient Services (3773 West 12600 South, Riverton)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat class from 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at Utah County Health Department (151 South University Avenue, Suite 2601, Provo)
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Car seat checks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wasatch County Health Department (55 South 500 East, Heber)
Friday, Sept. 19 – Car seat checkpoint from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Ogden Costco (3656 Wall Avenue, Ogden)
Saturday, Sept. 20 – Car seat checkpoint from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Park City Walmart (6545 North Landmark Drive, Park City)
Saturday, Sept. 20 – Car seat checkpoint from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Jordan Landing Old Navy (7113 Plaza Center Drive, West Jordan)
Thursday, Sept. 25 – Car seat checkpoint from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Price Fire Station (87 North 200 East, Price)

For more information on child passenger safety and tips for keeping your kids safe while in the car, visit

Thursday, September 11, 2014

CDC Funds 32 States to Collect Data on Violent Deaths

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that Utah will be one of 32 states to receive more than $1 million over the next five years to collect and link data on violent deaths through the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).  

The NVDRS is a surveillance system that collects detailed facts from multiple sources such as death certificates, medical examiner records, police and crime lab records, and supplemental homicide reports. It also serves as Utah’s suicide surveillance system, providing critical information on circumstances surrounding suicide deaths which has been used in the state’s many suicide prevention efforts over the past several years. 

Violent deaths include homicides, suicides, deaths of undetermined intent, unintentional firearm-related deaths, and deaths where individuals are killed by law enforcement in the line of duty. In Utah, 879 individuals died from violent deaths in 2013*. Of these deaths, 579 (65.9%) were due to suicide, 246 (28.0%) were undetermined deaths (primarily due to drug overdoses), and 54 (6.1%) were homicides. 

“These data give us a more complete picture of the deaths, including details about victims and suspects, their relationships, important circumstances that contributed to a death, and weapons used,” said Anna Fondario, Utah Department of Health epidemiologist. “Knowing the who, when, where, and how these deaths occurred gives us insights to help prevent them from happening again.” 

Utah was first funded in 2004 and began data collection in 2005. The state has remained committed to tracking violent deaths and the circumstances surrounding them. 

Utah won the “Excellence in Collecting the Most Timely and Complete Violent Death Data” for participation in NVDRS in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Utah was also honored with the “Innovative Initiative of the Year” award from the Safe States Alliance for integrating unintentional drug overdose deaths into the NVDRS. 

For a list of all NVDRS-funded states, visit

For more information about violent deaths in Utah, visit   

*2013 data are preliminary and include occurrent deaths (i.e., all individuals who died in Utah, whether or not they were a resident of Utah).

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Media Contact:
Jenny Johnson
(o) 801-538-9416
(m) 801-298-1569

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Website Helps Utahns Live Violence- and Injury-free Lives

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Did you know that injuries are the leading cause of death for Utahns ages 1-44? The next time you wonder about how to keep your family safe, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) wants you to visit its new injury prevention website. The website features safety tips and data on a variety of topics including suicide, prescription drug overdoses, and sports concussions.

“For more than 30 years, our program has worked tirelessly to eliminate the needless suffering and death from injuries and violence,” said Trisha Keller, Program Manager for the UDOH Violence and Injury Prevention Program. “We are thrilled to have a more up-to-date website that shows the personal side of these topics and helps people live safer lives.”

Injuries can have a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to lead an active, fulfilling life. Every day in Utah:

•    4 people die from injury or violence (1,829 deaths ⃰ );
•    31 are hospitalized due to injury or violence (12,280 hospitalizations⃰ ); and
•    444 are seen in an emergency department due to injury or violence (154,047 visits⃰ )

In 2012, the top five injury-related causes of death in Utah were suicides, poisonings, falls, motor vehicle traffic crashes, and unintentional suffocations. The rate of injury deaths in Utah increased significantly from 2010 to 2012 (65.3 per 100,000 and 72.3 per 100,000, respectively). Research shows that most injuries are predictable and preventable.

The new website,, features 20 violence and injury topics that impact individuals across their lifetime. Stories and quotes from Utahns impacted by injuries and violence are also highlighted on the new website. The most recent data, prevention tips, and resources are provided for each topic, which include:

Bicycle Safety
Child Fatalities
Child Maltreatment
Child Passenger Safety
Dating Violence
Domestic Violence
Infant Sleep
Motor Vehicle Crashes
Pedestrian Safety
Prescription Drug Overdoses
Rape and Sexual Assault
Sports Concussions
Safe Kids Utah
Student Injuries
Teen Driving
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Violent Deaths
Youth Suicide

The new website is structured by lifespan and broken down into four age groups: Children (ages 0-14), Teens and Young Adults (ages 15-24), Adults (25-64), and Older Adults (ages 65+). “We’ve categorized these topics in age groups so the public can find information applicable to their own lives more easily,” said Katie McMinn, UDOH Violence Prevention Specialist.

The new injury prevention website is available at

⃰  2012 data

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