Los Angeles County ranks among the top 10 healthiest counties in California when it comes to lung cancer, injuries, motor vehicle accidents and pre-natal care, but it is among the least healthy for heart disease and diabetes, according to a report released recently.

“These findings demonstrate some of the real successes of local public health efforts,” said Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, director of public health for the county. “Local initiatives focused on prohibiting smoking in public settings, increasing compliance with mandatory seat belt and child car seat laws, and reducing alcohol and drug impaired driving have contributed greatly to improving the health of the county’s residents.”

The report, released jointly by the California Department of Public Health and the California Conference of Local Health Officers, shows how counties across the state compare on 30 health indicators that cover the leading causes of death, rates of infectious diseases and birth outcomes.

A ranking of one indicates that the county is the healthiest as compared to all other counties in California. Among all 58 counties, L.A. County ranked sixth in injury-related deaths, seventh in making sure mothers receive adequate prenatal care, eighth in deaths from lung cancer and ninth in deaths from motor vehicle traffic.

Unfortunately, the county ranks poorly in such critical areas as heart disease (48th) and diabetes (46th).

“These two diseases especially take a tremendous toll on the public’s health, not only in terms of premature death, but also in terms of pain and suffering, reduced productivity, and heath care costs,” Fielding said.

“One of the major risk factors for heart disease and diabetes is obesity, which is epidemic in the county. We need to work together with cities and community partners to create healthy places where families can be active together and where they can purchase healthy foods. These diseases are largely preventable with good nutrition, regular physical activity, avoidance of tobacco and access to quality medical care.”

To see the complete list of rankings for Los Angeles County, visit www.cdph.ca.gov.

Daily Press

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