Big Cities Health Coalition Releases 2015 Report

Boston saw violent crime, heart disease deaths, and cancer deaths drop.

Looking for a new reason to brag about Boston’s status as a healthy city? This year’s report from the Big Cities Health Coalition examined the state of health in 26 metropolitan areas across the country, and Boston held its own.

The report found that, on the whole, health has improved in major cities nationwide since the last version of the study, which was released in 2007. While overall health could be better across metrics and socioeconomic and racial disparities remain, death rates from conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes are almost universally lower than they were eight years ago, and many cities are on track to meet the Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People 2020 benchmarks.

Boston, specifically, saw deaths from heart disease and cancer drop by 25 and 6 percent, respectively, since the 2007 study, while the diabetes mortality rate was 70 percent lower than the American average. Compared to other cities, Boston was also on the lower end of total number of deaths, teenage pregnancy rates, and percentage of obese residents—despite the fact that only 24 percent of adults and 15 percent of high school students meet the CDC’s physical activity recommendations.

Along with Minneapolis and Kansas City, Boston was also used as a case study for analyzing violence prevention tactics. In 2012, the Boston Public Health Commission began implementing a trauma-informed violence prevention strategy—meaning increased resources for teaching officials about how to deal with trauma, and for helping Bostonians recover from trauma. In part because of those efforts, the report says, homicide rates have dropped by 16 percent, while violent crime of any type has seen a 9 percent reduction.

Interested in the full report? You can see all the data gathered about Boston, as well as the other 25 cities included in the study, online.