Health and Environment
The Shreveport-Bossier MSA ranks 9th among our peers in the percent of people uninsured. Due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the share of the uninsured persons in every MSA show a substantial reduction, but the figure of 12.1% uninsured for our MSA is still high enough to represent a problem for the region. Nearly 15% of employed adults have no health insurance. A lack of health insurance has significant deleterious effects on the health of individual patients, creates substantial financial pressure on health care institutions, dampens productivity, reduces earnings, and increases the overall cost of the healthcare system to everyone.
Due to our relatively high rates of poverty and economic distress, high inequality, lower than average education levels, and high rates of uninsured adults, our MSA has relatively poor health outcomes. Relative to our peer communities, the Shreveport-Bossier MSA has the 2nd highest mortality rate, the 4th highest chlamydia rate, the highest rate of low-weight births, and the highest teen birth rate. Low birth weight is classified as an infant weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth. It indicates maternal exposure to health risks in all categories of health factors. In terms of infant health, Low birth weight serves as a predictor for potential cognitive development problems. 1 out of 9 babies in the Shrevport-Bossier MSA are affects by low birth weight.
On average, each of us breathes over 3,000 gallons of air each day and the quality of that air is vitally important. Sources of fine particulate matter in the air include forest fires, power plants, industrial processes, and automobiles among other things. Air pollution has significant impacts on agriculture and forestry including damage to trees, crops, plants, lakes, and animals. Furthermore, pollutants like tiny airborne particles and ground-level ozone have been shown to trigger respiratory problems, especially for people with asthma, and consequences of ambient air pollution include decreased lung function and chronic bronchitis. Asthma sufferers can be severely affected by air pollution which also aggravates health problems for the elderly and others with heart or respiratory diseases. Toxic chemicals released in the air such as benzene or vinyl chloride are highly toxic and can cause cancer, birth defects, long-term injury to the lungs, as well as brain and nerve damage.33 The potential for health, environmental, and economic impacts of air pollution is significant including lost days at work and reduction in the productivity of crops and commercial forest. The costs can be in the tens of billions per year.
To see more data on health and our community, check out the Community Counts full report or executive summary.