PUBLIC HEALTH: Peninsula, South Bay Lifestyle Not So Healthy
Lifestyles of those living on the Peninsula and in the South Bay "may have lasting negative effects on health and quality of life," according to two studies released yesterday. One study, by the Healthy Community Collaborative of San Mateo County, found an ever growing need for health care fueled by the "burgeoning" number of aging baby boomers. Another study, conducted by a consortium of Santa Clara County community groups, found that many demographic groups -- the poor, very young, adolescents, elderly, immigrants and minorities -- "do not enjoy a quality of life standard that promotes and sustains health." And, "not surprisingly," the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the study found these groups to be disproportionately affected by health problems. One of the report contributors, Don Bolce of Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network's Health Community-Healthy County, said that about 13% of the county's elderly are uninsured. "As a percentage, that may not seem that high. But turn that into a number, and that's about 180,000 people," he said.
Cost of Living Impact on Health
The San Mateo County study found that the high cost of living in the Peninsula has a negative affect on public health. Dr. Scott Morrow, the county's public health director, said high housing costs force many to live in "cramped, overcrowded conditions," leading to the spread of communicable diseases like tuberculosis. And Maureen Borland, director of the county's Human Services Agency, said financial stress "contributes to a [high] level of family violence (Wilson/Fernandez, 4/1). The San Mateo study can be accessed at www.plsinfo.org/heal thysmc/201 and the Santa Clara study is at www.jointventure.org.