Report: Mortality Rate Declines in L.A. County, but Disparities Persist
The mortality rate in Los Angeles County fell by 22% between 1998 and 2007 as fewer residents died from chronic illnesses, according to a new report from the county Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The 2007 data show a decline in death rates for many serious diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer, pneumonia and stroke.
Although mortality rates decreased for all ethnicities during the decade, the report notes that black residents -- particularly black men -- continued to have the highest mortality rates, while Asians maintained the lowest rates.
Jonathan Fielding, county director of public health, said a lack of access to quality health care could contribute to higher mortality rates among black county residents.Fielding also noted that although many Latino residents are low-income and uninsured, mortality rates among Latinos are lower than mortality rates among both blacks and whites. He said the so-called "Latino paradox" has been documented in previous public health studies and could be explained by Latinos smoking less and eating healthier than other ethnic groups (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 8/5). 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.