Salt Lake County leaders hope new health data will help them better serve residents’ needs

Posted at 6:28 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-16 20:36:31-04

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — Imagine you’re moving to a neighborhood and can tell exactly what the average life expectancy is there, and even break it down by zip code.

That possibility is a reality for Utahns, as the Salt Lake County Health Department has new links to that data and several other health statistics that compare us to the rest of the country.

The new website includes a variety of health data, from adult smoking rates to excessive drinking, in Salt Lake County compared to the rest of the top performing states.

“We hope the public will look at this data and help to understand more robustly the picture of Salt Lake County and how we can improve,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

McAdams said he plans to use this new data from the Salt Lake County Health Department to allocate resources to neighborhoods struggling with their health statistics.

“We hope the legislature and other policy makers will look at this and see we do have some challenges that need addressing and we can start looking for solutions,” said Gary Edwards, the Salt Lake County Health Department’s executive director.

The average life-expectancy for a resident in Salt Lake County is 79 years old, but, in downtown Salt Lake City it’s only 73 years old. Over in the foothills area things are better, with an average life-expectancy of 85 years.

You can also see where the county struggles the most:

Air quality: No surprise there, Salt Lake’s particulate matter is a lot higher than other states.

Teen births: For every 1,000 women, 34 are pregnant teens in Salt Lake County. In other states that number averages 19.

STD rates: The rates are significantly higher in the Salt Lake County when compared to other parts of the country.

Excessive drinking: In Salt Lake County that number comes in at 14 percent, meaning that more adults binge drink compared to healthier states, which average 12 percent.

The mayor and the health department said they want politicians to use this data as a tool when policy issues are brought to the legislative table.

For more about Salt Lake County’s efforts to improve the health of citizens, click here.