Los Angeles News
Health Atlas Shows Subtleties Of Economics
By Alex Mazariegos
Jul 10, 2013 - 12:47:29 PM

LOS ANGELES—On his last day in office, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released the results of a comprehensive study on the effects of complex and inter-related factors on the health and well-beings of Los Angeles residents.


The “Health Atlas for the City of Los Angeles” compiles current sketches on health conditions across Los Angeles neighborhoods and provides a discourse on how economic variables greatly aid or hinder the health of city residents. The 198-page report illustrates the importance of economic status and land use in relation to an individual's health and measures the impact of more than 100 health indicators, including obesity, asthma and coronary disease. Divided into categories such as demographics and social characteristics, education, health conditions (including access to care) and environmental health, the Health Atlas also includes 115 detailed maps of the Los Angeles neighborhoods, which are charted by population density and other dividers.

Map 37. Life expectancy at birth.


The raw data depicts inequality among Los Angeles neighborhoods separated by a few artificial miles.


As a demonstration of the importance of geographic location, the atlas points out residents born and raised in Brentwood, Bel Air and Pacific Palisades are expected to live 11.9 years longer than residents born and raised in Watts.


Other key findings affirm further disparities. Obesity rates for children in poorer areas of Los Angeles, for example, are higher than the lower rates reported in Bel Air-Beverly Crest and Brentwood-Pacific Palisades. Another finding placed average annual homicide rates in some higher income neighborhoods at nearly zero compared to rates in Southeast Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Leimert, which numbered more than 20 homicides per 100,000 residents.


According to the introduction of the Health Atlas, the raw data compiled by the study “is the first step in understanding the areas of the City burdened with the most adverse health-related conditions in order to improve health outcomes for all Angelenos.” The City plans to use the data as foundation for the creation of a new Health and Wellness Chapter for the City's General Plan Framework.


The atlas was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.


Anyone interested in reading the atlas can find the atlas embedded at http://planning.lacity.org/cwd/framwk/healthwellness/text/HealthAtlas.pdf.

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