California Not on Track To Meet Certain National Health Goals
California residents are not on track to meet certain nationally mandated health goals by 2010, and a lack of physician involvement could be partially to blame, according to a UCLA study released Wednesday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
In 2005, researchers surveyed 50,000 people from all income levels, ages and races on several health-related issues with the goal of determining whether habits had changed since 2003, when a similar study was conducted. The survey also was designed to gauge how residents' habits compared with health goals set by the HHS-sponsored Healthy People project. The study, which lasted two years, is believed to be the biggest of its kind in the country.
The results found that 56% of adults are overweight or obese, but while 80% saw a doctor at least once in 2005, only one-third of them had a doctor discuss diet and nutrition with them, Sue Holtby -- senior research scientist at the Public Health Institute and lead author of the report -- said.
L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding said the survey's information on Los Angeles County shows "some serious continuing problems where we are not making enough headway." He added, "The fact that at least half or more of adults are overweight or obese is (an extreme) problem" and the "fact that nutrition is poor is really serious."
The California Medical Association Foundation is focusing on training physicians to talk to patients about diet. However, doctors say time limitations and the need to discuss other health issues detract from the attention given to diet during examinations.
Scott Gee, medical director for prevention and health information for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, said, "Some physicians say patients are apathetic or not ready to change, or the physician is uncomfortable or doesn't have the skills to address the issue properly." However, he added, "The good news here is that California, in terms of educating and working on the issue, is one of the leading states in the country."
Meanwhile, Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) has proposed a bill that would require restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to post calorie information on menu boards. Los Angeles County supervisors are expected to vote on a similar measure soon (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.