San Joaquin County residents are getting fatter.
The Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of Pacific — charged with monitoring the region’s economic health believes the health of the county’s 715,000 residents is lacking.
In the summer regional spotlight the center issued in partnership with the San Joaquin Council of Governments cited data showing 68 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 64 are obese or overweight in the county compared to 59 percent for the rest of California.
And while obesity levels remain high nationally but have leveled off, they continue to climb in San Joaquin County. The obesity rate went from 26.6 percent for the overall population in San Joaquin County in 2004 to 34.7 percent in 2012.
The report cited University of Wisconsin’s research on county by county statistics nationally to determine how San Joaquin County stacks up among California’s 57 counties when it comes to heath concerns.
San Joaquin County out of 57 counties rates:
41st in mortality.
46th in morbidity.
52nd in health behaviors.
36th in clinical care.
48th in social and economic factors.
56th in physical environment.
Among the points the UOP report makes:
Higher levels of education are associated with behaviors such as healthy eating, engaging in physical activity, and refraining from smoking. In San Joaquin County, 77.8 percent of the residents 25 and older have at least a high school education compared to 81.5 percent statewide.
The county’s air quality has improved over the past two decades as days with ozone levels above state standards have declined from an average of 17.2 days in 1989-93 to 3.4 days in 2009-13.
Strong social support networks are linked to better health adding that life in a single parent household can be stressful for those families. Single parent families make up 34 percent of the county’s households creating a challenge for support networks.
Access to and use of health services can prevent and treat disease. Data shows 17.4 percent of the county’s population doesn’t have health insurance although the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of people with health insurance. However, having insurance does not guarantee access to care and services since no doctor in Manteca, for example, is taking new Medi-Cal patients forcing those insured by the program to use hospital emergency rooms instead.
Higher income and social status are linked to better health. Data shows 18.7 percent of county residents live below the poverty level compared to 16.8 percent statewide.
Recent data suggests 79 percent of county residents have access to exercise opportunities.