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Midstate needs better health education, access, report says

Central Pennsylvania needs better health education and access, according to a community health needs assessment released today.

Commissioned by Holy Spirit Health System, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth System, the assessment covered Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, Lebanon and northern York counties.

The assessment identified three priorities:

• Promoting healthful lifestyles with programs focused on diet, nutrition and physical activity.

• Increasing health knowledge, particularly among children and high-need populations.

• Improving access to affordable health care services, particularly dental, mental health, primary and specialty care .

The report said 1 in every 3.5 people in southcentral Pennsylvania is uninsured, compared to 1 in 10.4 statewide. In Lebanon County, 54.5 percent of residents report not having health insurance, and in downtown Harrisburg the percentage is 27 percent.

Dauphin County scored particularly badly on unsafe sex, besting only Philadelphia County in a statewide ranking. Lebanon, Perry and Northern York also showed poorly in that ranking.

An executive summary and the full report are available online.

Heather Stauffer

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