CHAPEL HILL, NC – A new report from the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Women’s Health Research shares promising trends in the area of preventative health measures for North Carolina’s women.

It also demonstrates a need to address challenges in the areas of racial disparities, obesity rates, and issues facing an overall aging population. 

The 2022 North Carolina Women’s Health Report Card was released by CWHR on May 9 and is the only report of its kind in the state.  

The document is a progress report on the health and healthcare needs of North Carolina’s women, who outnumber men. Preventive health, chronic disease, perinatal health, mental health, substance use disorders, and demographics are the key measures examined. 

Highlights of the 2022 North Carolina Women’s Health Report Card include: 

Positive findings: 

  • Preventative health screenings: NC women are exceeding Healthy People 2030 targets for both colorectal cancer screenings and mammograms. Additionally, North Carolina ranks 11th in well-woman visits and 12th in cervical cancer screenings. 
  • Preterm birth: Overall, fewer NC babies are born preterm (less than 37 weeks gestational age) than the Healthy People 2030 target of 9.4%. 

Adverse findings: 

  • Racial disparities: Disparities exist in data reflecting healthcare access and screenings. White women are more likely to report cancer and less likely to die from it, suggesting a racial disparity in doctor willingness to diagnose or a lack of doctor access. Additionally, Black or African American women are 70% more likely than White women to meet criteria for obesity. 
  • Rates of obesity remain high: More women in North Carolina are now classified as either overweight or obese than are within their recommended weight range. Obesity plays an important role in the risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. These increased risks place a greater burden on the health care system and economy. 

The Report Card is released biennially by CWHR and the 2022 publication is the twelfth edition. Data were compiled from state health behavior surveys, vital statistics, and disease reporting systems by UNC’s Carolina Demography, a division of the Carolina Population Center.  

“There are numerous conditions and diseases that affect women differently from men,” said Wendy Brewster, MD, PhD, Director of CWHR. “It is important that we target our resources wisely in these gap areas to preserve the health of our entire community.”  

The mission of CWHR is to improve the health of women through research by focusing on diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect women only, women predominately, and/or women differently than men.  

Explore the 2022 North Carolina Women’s Health Report Card at: https://go.unc.edu/2022WHRC. Expanded data sets, county-level information, and health recommendations can be accessed at: https://www.med.unc.edu/cwhr/whrc