Health Risk Factors

Description of Indicator
The health risk factors indicator tracks several areas across gender, age, education, household income, race, and sexual orientation in Pennsylvania. These factors include, those percentage of those individuals in Pennsylvania considered overweight and obese, have had no physical activity in the past month, are a current tobacco smoker, binge drink, or are at risk for problem drinking.

Why is it Important?
The health risk factors included in this indicator puts a person at greater risk for a wide variety of serious health problems and increase an individual’s risk of poor health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, cancer, and increased risk of motor vehicle crashes and unintentional injuries, in the case of increased alcohol consumption.

How is the Region Performing?
Across Pennsylvania those identifying as male (71 percent) have a greater share who are considered overweight or obese compared to those identifying as female (64 percent). Those aged 45-64 have a greater share (75 percent) compared to other age groups of being overweight or obese. In addition, lower levels of education and income are also related to higher shares of individuals being identified as overweight or obese. While those identifying as Black, non-Hispanic (75 percent) have higher rates of being overweight or obesity compared to White, non-Hispanic (68 percent). The share of those identifying lesbian, gay or bisexual who are overweight or obese has increased by 15 percent from 2021 to 2022.

With regard to physical activity, females have a greater share of no physical activity in the past month, as well as those in age brackets 45-64 and 65+, those with lower education and income levels. Those identifying as White, non-Hispanic and Black non-Hispanic have the similar shares of no physical activity, as well as those identifying as straight or lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Shares of current tobacco smokers varies, although those 65+, with a college degree, or income of $75,000+ have much lower shares of tobacco smokers. Those identifying as Black, non-Hispanic or Lesbian, gay or bisexual have slightly higher shares of tobacco use.

Those identifying as male and those in the 18-29 age bracket experience a higher rate of binge drinking. While those with some college or college degree and incomes above $50,000 have higher shares of binge drinking than those with less education and lower incomes. Those who identify as White, non-Hispanic have a higher share of binge drinking. While the share of binge drinkers who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual has decreased since 2021 and is now similar to the share of those who identify as straight and binge drink (18 percent and 16 percent respectively).