Friday, December 2, 2016

Untreated Tooth Decay Still a Problem for Many Utah Children

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Utah children between the ages of 6 and 9 experienced tooth decay in 2015, according to a new study conducted by the Utah Department of Health (UDOH).  The survey collected information on various factors including access to dental care, tooth decay, urgent treatment needs, and sealant placement.

State Dental Director Dr. Kim Michelson says, “Unfortunately, this rate has increased significantly since the 2010 survey (52%) and surpasses the Healthy People 2020 objective of 49%.” Findings also indicate that nearly one-fifth of Utah children (19%) have untreated tooth decay and a few (1.5%) need urgent dental care.  Dr. Michelson adds, “This means these children were experiencing tooth pain or infection.”

Unfortunately, poverty and lack of dental insurance have long been shown to affect oral health status. Nearly one in six children in Utah lack dental insurance coverage. Survey results also indicate that one in 25 children experienced an issue during the previous 12 months that required dental care but their parents couldn’t afford the treatment. About 66% of parents said their child had been to the dentist in the last 6 months, but a little more than 2% had never been to a dentist.

One bit of good news is a significant increase in children having sealants present on at least one permanent molar tooth.  In 2015, nearly half (45%) of the children had sealants present compared with 26% in 2010.

Although dental decay is preventable, it remains the most common chronic childhood disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tooth decay is four times more common than asthma among children between the ages of 5 and 19.

“We know oral health diseases are largely preventable yet we are moving in the wrong direction,” said Dr. Shaheen Hossain, the primary author of the report. “Along with increasing the access to needed services, we still need to educate parents on the importance of oral hygiene, nutritious diets with fewer sugary beverages, and getting routine dental care.”

The UDOH Oral Health Program (OHP) promotes dental decay prevention methods such as dental visits, sealants, fluoride, and other methods including early intervention education. For more information or a copy of the complete report, contact the OHP at 801-273-2995 or visit

Media Contact:
Anne McKenzie
Oral Health Program
(o) 801-273-2995

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UDOH News Release: New Report Highlights Utah's Top Languages

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, November, 30, 2016
Media Contact: Brittney Okada
UDOH Office of Health Disparities
(385) 315-0220

New Report Highlights Utah’s Top Languages

(Salt Lake City, UT) – The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) recently released a new report listing the top 20 languages spoken in Utah. Reports for the six most populated counties in the state – Cache, Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, Washington, and Weber counties – were also released and list the top 15 languages spoken in these counties.

According to the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, one in seven Utah residents speaks a language other than English at home and one-third of these speak English less than very well. The reports are intended to assist agencies providing health programs and services to limited English proficient (LEP) clients and patients.

The top five languages spoken in Utah are English, Spanish, Chinese, German, and Navajo.

“People may be surprised by the diversity of languages spoken in our state. We hope the reports bring attention to the language barriers faced by many of our fellow Utahns as they try to navigate the healthcare system,” said Brittney Okada, with the UDOH Office of Health Disparities

The reports are intended to help healthcare providers better comply with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards. The CLAS guidelines were developed to ensure the delivery of culturally and linguistically appropriate healthcare and services.

“The reports can help providers and health programs better understand their patient and client population, plan for language services, evaluate their current language services, and improve patient and client interactions,” said Okada. “Effective and meaningful communication is essential to health services.”

The Utah Language Data Report and six county language reports can be found at under Translation and Interpretation Resources.

Webinar on 12/14: How Increasing Memory Problems Impact Daily Life - Recent CDC Findings from the 2015 BRFSS

FY16 Advocacy Public Health News HeaderMemory Loss and the Public Health Burden: Results from the 2015 BRFSS

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A recent analysis of the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) indicates that over 50 percent of midlife and older adults with increasing memory problems report negative effects on their ability to perform everyday tasks or do work or social activities. To learn more, join us on Wednesday, December 14 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. EST for an in-depth discussion on How Increasing Memory Problems Impact Daily Life -- Recent CDC Findings from the 2015 BRFSS Cognitive Module. The webinar will feature the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new analysis of data from 35 states and territories (the largest group ever to use the Cognitive Module in a single year) and discuss the implications of the findings from the public health perspective. Please register in advance (if prompted, use meeting number 749 037 448).

Dr. Lisa McGuire, Team Lead of the CDC Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program, will present an overview of the aggregated results from 35 states and territories that used the Cognitive Module in their 2015 BRFSS survey. Three of the program’s analysts, Dr. Erin Bouldin, Dr. Valerie Edwards, and Dr. Christopher Taylor, will highlight the burden of subjective cognitive decline (i.e., confusion or memory loss that is getting worse) on older adults aged 45 and older as well as the extent to which they have discussed these problems with a health care provider. 

Then, Sallie Thoreson with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will provide a state-level perspective. She will share how her department plans to use the Colorado BRFSS data to educate the public health community about the impacts of subjective cognitive decline. 

Be sure to register online, mark your calendars, and forward this message to any interested colleagues. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Utah has Lowest Rates of Obesity Among Young Children from Low-Income Families

Obesity rates showed a statistically significant decrease in 31 states and three territories and increased significantly in four states among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from 2010 to 2014, according to a study published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).   

Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) released a new  data visualization showing how state-by-state obesity rates have changed among 2- to 4-year-old WIC participants since 2000 and a series of maps highlighting states' efforts to help promote nutrition and physical activity in early child care settings.

Utah had the lowest rate of 2- to 4-year-old WIC participants who were obese at 8.2 percent, while Virginia had the highest rate at 20.0 percent, according to today's findings.


Based on an analysis of new state-by-state data from the WIC Participant and Program Characteristics Study (WIC PC), obesity rates for children ages 2-4 by state from highest to lowest were:

1. Virginia (20.0); 2. Alaska (19.1); 3. Delaware (17.2); 4. South Dakota (17.1); 5. Nebraska (16.9); 6. (tie) California (16.6) and Massachusetts (16.6); 8. Maryland (16.5); 9. West Virginia (16.4); 10. (tie) Alabama (16.3) and Rhode Island (16.3); 12. (tie) Connecticut (15.3) and 12. New Jersey (15.3); 14. Illinois (15.2); 15. (tie) Maine (15.1) and 15. New Hampshire (15.1); 17. (tie) North Carolina (15.0) and Oregon (15.0); 19. (tie) Tennessee (14.9) and Texas (14.9); 21. (tie) Iowa (14.7) and 21. Wisconsin (14.7); 23. Mississippi (14.5); 24. (tie) Arkansas (14.4) and North Dakota (14.4); 26. (tie) Indiana (14.3) and New York (14.3); 28. Vermont (14.1); 29. Oklahoma (13.8); 30. Washington (13.6); 31. Michigan (13.4); 32. (tie) Arizona (13.3) and Kentucky (13.3); 34. Louisiana (13.2); 35. Ohio (13.1); 36. (tie) District of Columbia (13.0) and Georgia (13.0) and Missouri (13.0); 39. Pennsylvania (12.9); 40. Kansas (12.8); 41. Florida (12.7); 42. (tie) Montana (12.5) and New Mexico (12.5); 44. Minnesota (12.3); 45. (tie) Nevada (12.0) and South Carolina (12.0); 47. Idaho (11.6); 48. Hawaii (10.3); 49. Wyoming (9.9); 50. Colorado (8.5); 51. Utah (8.2).

Note: 1 = Highest rate, 51 = lowest rate. 

2016 Urban Indian Health Profile Released

This report is the fourth community health profile published by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) and will be updated on a regular basis. This community health profile provides an overview of the health status of AI/ANs living in select urban counties served by the network of Subchapter IV UIHOs across the country.  It presents data specific to demographics, social determinants of health, mortality, sexually transmitted diseases, maternal and child health, substance use, and mental health. 

The profile examines and addresses the disparities that exist among the urban AI/AN population compared to the non-Hispanic White (NHW) population and demonstrates the disproportionality in outcomes and behaviors that adversely affect them. Data for this profile comes from the U.S. Census, the American Community Survey, the U.S. Center for Health Statistics, the National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System, and the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. 

Home visits proven to help families thrive

A doctor holds an infant during a home visit.
Photo: RWJF Advances
Research shows that home visits prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), including reductions in child abuse and neglect by 48 percent.

Compendium of Publicly Available Datasets and Other Data-Related Resources

National Partnership for Action
The NPA’s Compendium of Publicly Available Datasets and Other Data-Related Resources (Compendium) is a free resource of publicly available data relevant to research and programs aiming to reduce health disparities. The Compendium compiles in one place descriptions of and links to 132 public datasets and resources that include information about health conditions and other factors that impact the health of minority populations.

The Compendium includes data and data-related resources from the following federal agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Administration for Community Living (ACL); Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); Indian Health Service (IHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH); and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It also includes data from the U.S. Census Bureau at the U.S. Department of Commerce.
FIHET Data Compendium [PDF | 2MB]