LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles County ranks among the California counties with the lowest rate of premature death, but the rate among black residents is nearly twice as high, public health officials said this week.
The county’s Department of Public Health cited the results of a report published March 18 by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. [View the report here.]
“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 DPH Director Barbara Ferrer. “We will continue to work to help make L.A. 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.”
In addition to beating out 42 of California’s 58 counties, Los Angeles County’s rate of premature death is below that of the three other most populous counties nationwide — Cook County, Illinois; Harris County, Texas; and Maricopa County, Arizona.
Los Angeles also ranked low in:
— drug overdose deaths, at 8 deaths per 100,000 residents;
— percentage of adults smoking, at 11 percent; and
— injury deaths, at 38 per 100,000 residents.
The rate of uninsured residents has also decreased faster in Los Angeles County than statewide or nationwide.
However, the report found many of the indicators vary widely based on race.
Other concerns raised by the report include a high rate of preventable hospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries and a low rate of flu vaccination involving those same residents.
High housing costs and long commute times in Los Angeles County were also associated with health risks.