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April 17, 2012
SOMERVILLE, NJ, April 17, 2012 -- On the heels of a report showing that Somerset County is one of the healthiest counties in the state, Somerset Medical Center and the Healthier Somerset Coalition today released the results of a survey of county residents detailing ways the county is healthier than others in the state and nation.

More than 2,000 county residents participated in the health needs assessment, which was conducted by Holleran Consulting, an independent research firm in Pennsylvania. Residents were interviewed by phone between November and February and asked about topics such as exercise and physical activity habits, awareness of hypertension and cholesterol, diet and food choices, tobacco usage, cancer screenings and health insurance.

Among the survey’s findings:

• Somerset County residents are more likely than residents throughout the nation to have health care coverage.
• Fewer Somerset County residents smoke than other parts of New Jersey and nation.
• Somerset County residents were better than the rest of the nation in getting their annual flu shots, mammograms, clinical breast exams, Pap tests and colonoscopies.
• Somerset County residents reported less anxiety and depression than others nationwide.
• Somerset County residents were more likely to have been to the dentist in the past year.
However, the report also identified several areas where Somerset County fares worse than the state and nation, including:

• County residents are more likely to be overweight and not as well-rested than others in New Jersey and across the country.
• Somerset County men over age 40 were less likely to have had a PSA test and digital rectal exam than their male counterparts throughout the state and nation.
• More Somerset County residents are caregivers than others nationwide.

• A greater proportion of Somerset County residents reported poor physical or mental health in the past month than the state and nation.

“We are grateful to everyone who participated in this survey,” said Phyllis Kumpf, director of Somerset Medical Center’s Community Health Department . “This feedback is extremely valuable in helping us get a true picture of the health of Somerset County residents so that we can ensure our services are meeting their health care needs.” 

Somerset Medical Center conducted a similar survey in 2001 and Somerset County conducted a health assessment in 2006. Results from those surveys were used to develop or expand services such as health screenings, diabetes education, tobacco cessation programs and women’s health services.

For more information about the Somerset County community health needs assessment survey, call Phyllis Kumpf at (908) 595-2606.