A new report on the health of counties across the nation has ranked Los Angeles County among the California health jurisdictions with the lowest rates of premature deaths. The County’s result also fared better than those of the other three most populous counties in the nation.
The report, released by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, indicated that the rate of premature death in the county was less than the rate in 42 of California’s 58 counties (5,000 years of potential life lost (YPLLs) per 100,000 population). This was also below the rate in the three other most populous counties in the nation–Cook County, Illinois; Harris County, Texas; and Maricopa County, Arizona.
Other key areas of health indicators where Los Angeles County scored better in comparison to other county jurisdictions include the following:
– Drug overdose deaths (8 deaths per 100,000)
– Adults smoking prevalence (11%)
– Injury deaths (38 per 100,000)
– Heath insurance coverage, where the rate of uninsured decreased more rapidly in Los Angeles County than in California and the U.S. overall).
However, the report also noted large racial and ethnic disparities in results for many of the indicators. For instance, the rate of premature death in Los Angeles County was more than two times higher among blacks (10,000 YPLLs per 100,000) than among whites and Latinos (5,100 and 4,600 YPLLs per 100,000 respectively).
Other areas of concern for the county include the following:
– A high rate of preventable hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries
– A large percentage (34%) of households experiencing “severe housing burden,” defined as households spending more than 50% of their income on housing
– Long commute times to work, which have been associated with an increased risk of obesity and other adverse health effects
– A low rate of flu vaccination among Medicare beneficiaries
“While we have made great gains in improving the health of our residents over the past several decades, more efforts are clearly needed to address the underlying conditions in communities that continue to fuel an unacceptably high level of preventable illness among our residents,” said Dr. Ferrer. “We will continue to work to help make LA County a place where everyone – regardless of who they are, where they live, how much money they make, or the color of their skin – has what they need to lead a healthy, fulfilling, and productive life,” she added.
For more information on the rankings visit www.countyhealthrankings.org.