Community health issues
- Childhood obesity was the most concerning health issue cited by stakeholders, parents and youth in this research and other data on obesity trends support their concerns. (e.g., in 2007, 33% of Boston high shcool students were considered either overweight or obese.)
- Environmental barriers such as lack of safe outdoor play space, yards and playgrounds as well as limited access to healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables were noted as significant challenges to obesity prevention efforts.
- Asthma was also a significant issue of concern in these communities especially for the younger residents. Pollution, second-hand smoke and other environmental triggers in the home were considered major contributing factors to this issue.
- Asthma affects numerous high shcool students in Boston, as 13% reported currently having asthma in 2007. The rate of asthma hospitalizations for young Black children was at least three times greater than the rates for White and Asian children.
- Mental Health issues among youth were considered a significant health concern in these communities. Not only did children and adolescents deal with depression, but the experience of violence in all its forms (domestic violence, dating violence and trauma from living in violent surroundings) contributed to many mental health problems.
- In 2007, female Boston public high school students (31%) were more likely than males (31% vs. 21%) to report depressive symptoms and also to have seriously considered attempting suicide (14% vs. 7%)
- Injuries associated with violence concerned stakeholders, parents and youth to a greater extent than than unintentional injuries. The data supports the prevalance of violence among Boston teens as well. In 2007, the highest reate of nonfatal assault-related gunshot and stabbing injuries occurred among those ages 15-19 (over three times the overall Boston rate).
- Alcohol, tobacco and other drugs were discussed in nearly every focus group, as substance abuse was viewed as a key issue related to violence and other neighborhood ills. The issue of sexual health and teen pregnancy were brought up by parents, youth and in stakeholder interviews.