Philadelphians made improvements on key health indicators despite worrying trends, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's annual Community Health Assessment.
The report, released Friday morning, shows that from 2012 to 2013, life expectancy at birth increased from 72.3 to 73.2 years for men and remained at 79.3 years for women.
The life expectancy gap between blacks and whites decreased by 38 percent for men and 58 percent for women between the years 2010 and 2013, the report found.
The Community Health Assessment is designed to track the health of the city's population and the factors that contribute to health, such as health care access, smoking, and poverty. The data comes from sources including the city School District, birth and death certificates, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
The goal behind publishing the report annually is to encourage governmental and nongovernmental health organizations to develop polices and programs to improve public health, city officials said.
"Despite Philadelphia's poverty rate and health problems associated with poverty, our health is improving," Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley said.
Two glaring problem areas, he said, are the smoking rate and the rise in opioid addiction and deaths.
While many big cities have smoking rates of about 15 percent, 23 percent of Philadelphia's adult population smokes, Farley noted.
"If we got our smoking rate down, we would have major improvements in health," he said.
Opioid-related mortality rose sharply in 2015, "reaching a historical high," the report notes. The rate spiked to 32.7 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015 compared with 28.4 deaths in 2014.
The crisis has not abated. Earlier this month, 35 people died of heroin overdoses over five days.
Farley said greater effort needs to be made to provide more people with the opioid antidote Naloxone.
"We want to make it so that whenever somebody has an overdose, there is somebody right there that can help them," he said.
The teen birthrate continued to decline, with an overall 24 percent drop since 2010, while the infant mortality rate fell to 8.2 per 1,000 births in 2013, down from 10.1 per 1,000 in 2012, the report found. Despite the decline, however, the current rate is still "markedly higher than the national rate of 5.96 in 2013," the report noted.
Also troubling is the adult obesity rate, which continued to rise, to 33.3 percent of the population in 2014-15 from 31.9 percent in 2012. The childhood obesity rate, meanwhile, declined slightly, to 20.2 percent in 2014 from 21.4 percent in 2008.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, rose slightly, reaching 38.2 percent of adults; diabetes declined slightly to 15.4 percent of adults in 2014-15 from 16 percent in 2012.
New HIV cases continued to decline, to 35.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015 compared with 44.2 deaths in 2013, according to the report.
Firearms homicides rose slightly in 2015, helping give Philadelphia the distinction of having the highest violent crime rate among the nation's major cities, according to the report.
There were 16.2 firearms homicides per 100,000 people in 2015 compared with 14.3 deaths in 2014, the report notes.
As President Obama prepares to leave office next month, the report attributes the sharp drop in the percentage of adults without health insurance to his signature effort, the Affordable Care Act and the state's expansion of Medicaid. The report found that 12.4 percent of adults did not have insurance in 2014-15 compared with 18.5 percent in 2012.
"We are working hard to improve health across Philadelphia," said Cheryl Bettigole, director of the Health Department's chronic disease division.
"This report helps us to see the big picture more clearly so that we can develop better strategies to do that."