Los Angeles County Diabetes Rate Continues To Escalate
The rate of diabetes continues to rise among Los Angeles County adults, particularly among the Hispanic and black populations, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials said on Monday, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
About 8.8% of the Los Angeles County population, or 660,000 adults, in 2005 reported having diabetes, compared with 6.6% in 1997, Jonathan Fielding, director of public health for the county, said. Researchers said the rate of diabetes is underreported, and many residents may not know they have the condition.
The survey found that the diabetes rates among blacks and Latinos were nearly double the rates for whites and Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders.
Among adults with diabetes, 41% were obese, according to health experts. Health officials say the high rates of obesity and diabetes might stem in part from residents living in low-income neighborhoods that do not have easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Zev Yaroslavsky, county supervisor, said, "The consequences of neglecting this disease are extremely serious, including blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke."
The public health department is recommending several strategies to boost residents' diets, including:
- Filling county vending machines with healthier snacks and drinks;
- Making affordable, nourishing food available at corner stores in low-income neighborhoods; and
- Encouraging restaurants to provide nutrition information on their menus.
A San Fernando Valley health report released in July found that in 2004, diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in the Valley, especially among residents in Glendale, Van Nuys, North Hollywood and Pacoima (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/6). 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.