Reports Examine Health Disparities in East San Francisco Bay Region
Despite numerous attempts to narrow health disparities, wide inequities persist among different ethnic and socioeconomic communities in California, according to an Alameda County study and a Contra Costa County study, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The Hospital Council of Northern and Central California financed the two studies to help health care organizations determine how to allocate resources. Both counties compiled data on disease rates, life expectancy and other health metrics and organized the information by city, income, education level and race.
Researchers found that people in low-income neighborhoods often have shorter and less healthy lives than those in higher-income areas.
The studies also found wide disparities among ethnic groups in the East San Francisco Bay region. For example, the life expectancy for black men in Alameda County is 69.9 years, compared with 78.9 years for white men, 80.7 years for Hispanic men and 85.1 years for Asian-American men.
Possible Contributing Factors
Wendel Brunner, Contra Costa County public health director, said "higher income is associated with higher levels of health insurance, access to adequate health care, better diets and more opportunities for recreation and exercise."
Chuck McKetney -- director of community assessment, planning, education and evaluation for the Alameda County Public Health Department -- said higher education levels also are associated with better health indicators, possibly because people with more education are more likely to obtain jobs with health coverage (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 3/5).
Foundations Aim To Address Disparities
Over the past 10 years, several large foundations such as the California Endowment and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have shifted resources toward projects that aim to improve the health of communities.
The projects generally target lower-income neighborhoods that have high rates of chronic disease and lack certain resources such as parks, gyms and grocery stores (Bohan, Contra Costa Times, 3/6).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.