LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Residents’ Health Varies by Race, Report Says
Los Angeles residents "live and die in ways that vary widely by race, ethnicity and lifestyle," according to a Los Angeles County Department of Human Services report intended to "serve as a blueprint for attacking the county's health problems," the Los Angeles Times reports. The report, "The Health of Angelenos," reveals that whites, Asian Americans and African Americans are twice as likely as Latinos to have heart disease. Further, African Americans are twice as likely as whites and three times as likely as Latinos or Asian Americans to die from heart disease. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are more than seven times as likely as whites to have tuberculosis, while African Americans have the highest rates of mortality from cancer and diabetes. The report also includes previously unreleased information concerning how people think about their own health: 30% of Latinos consider their health "fair or poor," compared to 27% of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, 18% of African Americans and 12% of whites. Cheryl Wold, a health department epidemiologist, said that it is not clear whether the disparity in health attitudes indicates that Latinos and Asian Americans are actually in poorer health than African Americans and whites or whether those groups "simply set higher standards for what constitutes good health." Hoping the report will "encourage everybody who's concerned about [health disparities] to take a very broad view about what determines health," Dr. Jonathan Fielding, county health officer and director of public health, said, "This isn't information to ooh and aah at alone. It's information to take action on" (Landsberg, 7/25).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.