U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Preface & Reader's Guide
from the printed version of the data book

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) supports healthy women building healthy communities. HRSA is charged with ensuring access to quality health care through a network of community-based health centers, maternal and child health programs, and community HIV/AIDS programs throughout the States and U.S. jurisdictions. In addition, HRSA’s mission includes supporting individuals pursuing careers in medicine, nursing, and many other health disciplines. HRSA fulfills these responsibilities by collecting and analyzing timely, topical information that identifies health priorities and trends that can be addressed through program interventions and capacity building.

HRSA is pleased to present Women’s Health USA 2009, the eighth edition of the Women’s Health USA data book. To reflect the everchanging, increasingly diverse population and its characteristics, Women’s Health USA selectively highlights emerging issues and trends in women’s health. Data and information on women veterans, bleeding disorders, hearing problems, and severe headaches and migraines are a few of the new topics included in this edition. There is also a new section providing State-specific data on leading causes of death, overweight and obesity, and smoking among women. A special supplement on women’s health along the U.S.-Mexico border is also new this year and covers a range of topics including population characteristics, health insurance coverage, and reproductive health.

Racial and ethnic, sex, and socioeconomic disparities are highlighted throughout the document where possible. Where race and ethnicity data are reported, every effort was made to ensure that groups are mutually exclusive. In some instances, it was not possible to provide data for all races due to the design of the original data source or the size of the sample population; therefore, data with a relative standard error of 30 percent or greater were considered unreliable and were not reported. For estimates relying on the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, data presented for the Hispanic population should be interpreted with caution. Due to the sampling design of the survey, the data may not be representative of the entire U.S. Hispanic population.

The data book was developed by HRSA to provide readers with an easy-to-use collection of current and historical data on some of the most pressing health challenges facing women, their families, and their communities. Women’s Health USA 2009 is intended to be a concise reference for policymakers and program managers at the Federal, State, and local levels to identify and clarify issues affecting the health of women. In these pages, readers will find a profile of women’s health from a variety of data sources. The data book brings together the latest available information from various agencies within the Federal government, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Labor, and U.S. Department of Justice. Non-Federal data sources were used when no Federal source was available. Every attempt has been made to use data collected in the past 5 years. It is important to note that the data included are generally not age-adjusted to the 2000 population standard of the United States. This affects the comparability of data from year to year, and the interpretation of differences across various groups, especially those of different races and ethnicities. Without age adjustment, it is difficult to know how much of the difference in incidence rates between groups can be attributed to differences in the groups’ age distributions.

Women’s Health USA 2009 is available online through the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), or Office of Women’s Health website. Some of the topics covered in Women’s Health USA 2008 were not included in this year’s edition because either new data were not available or because preference was given to an emerging issue in women’s health. For coverage of these issues, please refer to Women’s Health USA 2008, also available online. The National Women’s Health Information Center, has detailed women’s and minority health data and maps. These data are available through Quick Health Data Online. Data are available at the State and county levels, by age, race and ethnicity, and sex.

Women’s Health USA 2009 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use any of the information contained in this publication, although photographs are copyrighted, and permission maybe required to reproduce them. Please provide any feedback on this publication to the HRSA Information Center which offers single copies of the data book at no charge:
HRSA Information Center, P.O. Box 2910, Merrifield, VA 22116, Phone: 703-442-9051, Toll-free: 1-888-ASK-HRSA, TTY: 1-877-4TY-HRSA, Fax: 703-821-2098, Email: ask@hrsa.gov Online: www.ask.hrsa.gov

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