People in New Hanover County are getting fatter. And this is not a body image problem; it’s an issue that’s leading to chronic disease and early death. 60% of New Hanover County residents are either overweight or obese. That’s according to a New Hanover County health report published last year that uses only self-reported data. When the data is broken down according to race – a sad but predictable picture emerges: 58% of white people fall into the overweight / obese category. But people of color in New Hanover County report much higher numbers: 76% of African American residents, 80% of Asian respondents, and 88% of Native Americans have a weight problem.
We’ll unpack those numbers on this edition of CoastLine and find out what they really tell us -- including why there’s a marked gap between the general health of people of color and those who identify as white.
We’ll also find out why a recently-published report from the Department of Public Health at East Carolina University – which examined social determinants of health – concludes that more than 55-hundred deaths in North Carolina could be avoided if everyone had a fair chance to be healthy.
With us today for a tour of these issues and the local public health landscape is the Health Director for New Hanover County. Phillip Tarte took the helm of the Health Department after long-time Director David Rice retired last year. He’s been in the job for less than a year – about 9 months -- but already has pretty clear ideas about how he plans to shake up the county’s collective health outlook.
- Phillip Tarte, Health Director, New Hanover County Health Department