The residents of Los Angeles County bear health burdens as a result of pollution, a lack of access to regular exercise and healthy diet. Health care for chronic ailments such as diabetes and asthma costs residents of Los Angeles County billions of dollars every year. Initiatives to make the River a source of health and vitality by providing recreational programming and increasing the region’s green resources in urban communities can provide significant benefits to help reverse some of the county’s most inequitable health burdens.
By providing recreational programming and increasing the region’s green resources in urban communities, the River becomes a source of health and vitality that can provide significant benefits to help reverse some of the country’s most inequitable health burdens.
CLEAN AIR STATISTICS
The California Department of Public Health recommends creating a “safer outdoor environment, with particular emphasis on communities with disproportionate exposure to pollution. Reduce air pollution from sources such as: transportation, freight transport, industry, agriculture, and secondhand smoke.”
Currently in Los Angeles County:
- 25% of Californians diagnosed with asthma reside in Los Angeles County. 1
- $1.3 billion dollars is spent on asthma hospitalizations in California in 2010.
- Outdoor air pollution from sources such as cars and trucks, fireplaces, factories, and power plants are all major contributors to asthma attacks.
- The average cost for people suffering from controlled asthma in Los Angeles County amounts to $6,500 a year 2
Access to parks and recreational facilities increases the opportunity for physical activity within communities, thereby helping to reduce the number of diagnosed preventable diseases each year. 3
A study from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health showed a 21% reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in areas with greater opportunities for physical activity. 4
Currently in Los Angeles County:
- 1 in 4 children are obese in Los Angeles County.
- Between 1997 and 2011, obesity rates for adults ages 18-39 more than doubled in Los Angeles County. 5
- Obesity is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes, and is a significant risk factor for heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and many types of cancer. 6
- 625,000 residents have Type II diabetes in Los Angeles County.7
- Diabetes care costs Los Angeles County $6 billion annually. 8
- Diabetes is the 5th leading cost of death in Los Angeles County. Areas offering greater opportunities for physical activity have shown a 21% reduced risk of Type II diabetes. 9
1 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2011 Emergency Department Summary Tables
2 Milet M, Lutzker L, Flattery J. Asthma in California: A Surveillance Report. Richmond, CA: California Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Investigations Branch, May 2013.
3 Barrett MA, Miller D, Frumkin H. Parks and Health: Aligning Incentives to Create Innovations in Chronic Disease Prevention. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2014.
4 Paul Christine, M.P.H., University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor; Nancy Adler, Ph.D., San Francisco; June 29, 2015, JAMA Internal Medicine, online
5 County of LA Public Health, 2011
6 Center for Disease Control, 2015
7 County Health Statistics, 2015 | California Department of Public Health Chronic Disease Control Branch, 2014
8 County of LA Public Health, 2011
9 County of LA Public Health, 2011