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Preface and Reader's Guide

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, in part, 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 2012, the eleventh edition of the Women’s Health USA data book. To reflect the ever-changing, increasingly diverse population and its characteristics, Women’s Health USA selectively highlights emerging issues and trends in women’s health. Data and information on adverse childhood experiences, Internet use for health information, sexual risk behaviors, and sexual violence are among the new topics included in this edition. Other topics that have not been covered in the past 5 years include incarcerated women and impaired fecundity and infertility treatment. In addition, this year's special population pages feature new data on the health of Asian women, rural and urban women, and women veterans.

Disparities by sex, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic factors, including education and income, are highlighted throughout the document where possible. Where race and ethnicity data are reported, groups are mutually exclusive (i.e., non-Hispanic race groups and the Hispanic ethnic group) except in a few cases where the original data do not present the groups separately. Throughout the data book, those categorized as being of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race or combination of races. 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, estimates with a numerator of less than 20 or a relative standard error of 30 percent or greater were considered unreliable and were not reported.

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 2012 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 Commerce, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 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. The data included are generally age-adjusted to the 2000 population standard of the United States when there are clear age-related patterns that affect comparisons across various groups, especially those of different races and ethnicities. Age-adjustment helps to see differences between groups in the prevalence or incidence of a condition that are not simply a function of differences in the groups' age distributions.

Women’s Health USA 2012 is available online through the HRSA Office of Women’s Health Web site at or the HRSA Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Office of Epidemiology and Research Web site. Some of the topics covered in Women’s Health USA 2011 were not included in this year’s edition either because 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 2011, also available online. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health 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 sex, race and ethnicity, and age.

The text and graphs in Women’s Health USA 2012 are not copyrighted; the photographs are the property of istockphoto and may not be duplicated. With that exception, readers are free to duplicate and use any of the information contained in this publication. 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
8280 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-442-9051
Toll-free: 1-888-ASK-HRSA
TTY: 1-877-4TY-HRSA
Fax: 703-821-2098

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