Ventura Gang Violence Injunction Prompts Officials To Look at Violence, Children’s Health Link
The Los Angeles Times on Monday examined the possible connection between the mental and physical health of children in Ventura County and their exposure to violence in the community, following an injunction in June against members of the Colonia Chiques gang because of excessive violence (Alvarez, Los Angeles Times, 7/26). Ventura County in April filed a civil lawsuit to impose an injunction against members of the Colonia Chiques gang because of the gang's illegal activities, which included crime and harassment at St. John's Regional Medical Center. The police-backed injunction restricts Colonia Chiques gang members' activities within a 6.6-square-mile "safety zone," which includes the hospital. Under the injunction, gang members can receive care at St. John's, but fellow gang members may not congregate there (California Healthline, 5/17).
According to the Times, physicians and researchers are "starting to take a closer look" at the relationship between health and violence, and several studies "already point to a connection" between exposure to violence and depression and anxiety in children. Researchers also are studying the possible tie between high-crime communities and physical health problems such as obesity and asthma. According to the Times, people in high-crime communities more frequently fail to keep medical appointments or follow prescribed exercise regimens. In addition, the fear of violence could cause parents to keep children inside, thus establishing a sedentary lifestyle that increases the risk for obesity or exposes people with asthma to more mold and dust. Chris Landon of the Landon Pediatric Foundation, and director of pediatrics at the Ventura County Medical Center, has filed for two grants that he hopes would fund a "multi-step approach" aimed at improving asthma care in low-income immigrant neighborhoods. Landon also intends to launch a "Get Moving" program that would encourage children to be more active. Doctors at the Landon Foundation aim to create a "kid zone" in the injunction area in which doctors and others can treat several childhood health issues (Los Angeles Times, 7/26).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.