BAKERSFIELD: Ranked Worst In U.S. For Women’s Health
American Health for Women magazine has dubbed Bakersfield "the unhealthiest city for women in America," the Bakersfield Californian reports. The magazine cited "poor air quality, joblessness and biking and pedestrian deaths" in ranking Bakersfield "one of the five worst for women's health among 206 cities." Magazine researchers sought out "the quality and quantity of doctors and hospitals, recreational opportunities, violent crime and air and water pollution" from data going back to 1996. Additionally, they tallied the "number of woman-owned businesses, family-friendly employers, child care availability and women's health clinics," but did not factor in local statistics. The article said of Bakersfield: "In 1996, the Environmental Protection Agency reported a frightening 56 days with ozone levels above the acceptable limit; the unemployment rate is double the national average; and there's a high number of pedestrian and bicycling deaths."
"Have they ever even been to Bakersfield?," asked Kern County Health Department Director Dr. B.A. Jinadu, to which, the Californian reports the "answer is no." Dana Points, American Health's senior editor, said, "Our aim isn't driving people to flee Bakersfield. The idea is for women to examine where they live and maybe improve it." An associate with the Kern Medical Center conceded that some of the magazine's claims weren't far from the truth. Dr. Jennifer Abraham "has been concerned with the lack of employer-offered child care, female physicians and availability of certain female-reproductive services" in the Bakersfield area. However, Abraham said "the article ... and the development of more female clinics in Bakersfield show more attention being brought to women's health" (Bedell, 4/28).