Risk of Chronic Disease Higher for L.A. County Minority Women
Lack of health insurance, limited access to health care and poverty are among the principal factors contributing to minority women in Los Angeles County facing disproportionate risks for chronic disease, a new report finds, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the report, the incidence of diabetes among county women has increased by 13% since 1995 and concentrations of the disease have been found in South Los Angeles, the Antelope Valley and areas in southeast Los Angeles County.
Similarly, the report found that the highest percentages of obese and overweight women lived in poorer areas, such as Central and South Los Angeles and some parts of Antelope Valley.
Obesity rates among all women in Los Angeles County have increased to 20%, but that rate jumps to more than a quarter among Latinas and about one-third of African-American women.
The leading causes of death for women in Los Angeles County were heart disease and stroke, the report found. More than half of African-American women were at risk of developing heart disease, compared to 38% of Latinas, 36% of whites and 27% of Asian and Pacific Islander women.
The study is based on responses from a 2005 random phone survey of 8,600 adults in Los Angeles County.
To help address the disparities, Los Angeles County Director of Public Health Jonathan Fielding said the county has:
- Provided outreach programs to help people enroll in Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program;
- Offered multilingual health care referrals;
- Sponsored mobile cancer screenings; and
- Coordinated smoking cessation efforts (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 5/24).