By Madina Toure
A new report by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is shedding light on community conditions that affect physical and mental health in Flushing and Whitestone.
The profile, “Queens Community Board 7: Flushing and Whitestone,” covers health in Flushing, Whitestone, Auburndale, Bay Terrace, East Flushing, Queensboro Hill and College Point for 2015.
The area’s population is 255,707, of which 52 percent is Asian, 28 percent white, 17 percent Hispanic, 2 percent black and 2 percent other, according to the profile.
Roughly 57 percent of the population is foreign-born and 47 percent have limited English proficiency, the profile found.
About 70 percent of area residents reported their own health as “excellent,” “very good” or “good,” and the life expectancy is 83.6 years, according to the data.
As for living conditions in the area, the report found that a lower percentage of homes have maintenance defects compared with homes citywide.
About 38 percent of renter-occupied homes in the area have maintenance defects—including water leaks, cracks and holes; inadequate heating; the presence of mice or rats; toilet breakdowns and peeling paint, compared to 51 percent for the entire borough and 59 percent citywide, the report said.
Levels of PM2.5—the most harmful air pollutant—are 8.4 micrograms of fine particulate matter per cubic meter in the area, the same as for the borough as a whole, the data showed. In comparison, the study found a level of 8.6 citywide.
Tobacco retailers are less prevalent in the area than they are elsewhere in the city. There are seven tobacco retailers per 10,000 people in the coverage area, compared to nine per 10,000 people in the borough as a whole and 11 citywide, the profile said.
Supermarket access is the second-highest in the city, the report added, with 342 square feet of supermarket square footage per 100 people, compared to 180 for all of Queens. The South Beach and Willowbrook areas of Staten Island topped the list with 450 square feet per 100 people, and the citywide average was 177.
In terms of the social and economic status of area residents, the study found that about 39 percent of adults are college graduates, 40 percent are high-school graduates or have completed some college, and 22 percent of adults have not completed high school.
About 15 percent of residents were found to live below the federal poverty level, with 9 percent unemployed and 56 percent spending more than 30 percent of their monthly gross income on rent. But the rate of elementary school absenteeism is also low, with only 8 percent of students missing 20 or more school days.
The incarceration rate is lower in the coverage area than the borough and citywide, at 24 per 100,000 adults ages 16 and older, compared with 93 citywide and 52 boroughwide.
There were nine births per 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19, compared to 18.7 for the borough overall and 23.6 citywide.
At 16 percent, the obesity rate is twice that of the Stuyvesant Town and Turtle Bay coverage area in Manhattan, but lower than the Queens and citywide rates.
The diabetes rate is 8 percent, compared with 10 percent in the city overall. There are also 357 alcohol-related hospitalizations and 166 drug-related hospitalizations per 100,000 adults.
About 24 percent of adults have no health insurance, 9 percent went without needed medical care and 9 percent had late or no prenatal care.
About 38 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 years old have received all three doses of the HPV vaccine, 44 percent of adults received the flu vaccination and 45 percent of adults have been tested for HIV. The top causes of death are heart disease, at 3,152 deaths, and cancer, at 1,921 deaths.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour