Health Care: Community Health


Why Is This Important?
The health of a community is affected by many interrelated factors including environmental and neighborhood characteristics, social factors, and individual behavior.  Environmental and neighborhood characteristics influencing residents’ health can be direct, such as exposure to toxic substances, or indirect such as access to recreation areas or the availability of affordable housing.  Social factors that may impact residents’ health include the availability of health information (including linguistically and culturally appropriate information), norms encouraging healthy behaviors, and inequalities across socioeconomic or ethnic groups.

What Is a Sustainable State?
A sustainable state is one where a community provides a healthy environment for all of its members and healthy behaviors are reinforced in daily social interaction.

How Are We Doing?
In 2004, the leading causes of death in San Mateo County were cancer and heart disease.  Together, they accounted for over half of all deaths in the county. 

 

Five Leading Causes of Death in San Mateo County, 2004

  Disease

Percentage of Total
Deaths

  Cancer

27%

  Heart Disease

26%

  Cerebrovascular
Disease

8%

  Respiratory Disease

5%

  Influenza and Pneumonia

4%

Data source: The Healthy Community Collaborative of San Mateo County

 

In 2004, only 7 percent of San Mateo County residents exhibited a combination of healthy behaviors that limit the risk of cancer and heart disease (they do not smoke, are not overweight, exercise at least three times per week, and eat an average of five fruits and/or vegetables a day).

  • In 2004, men were much less likely than women to exhibit all four healthy behaviors (only 4 percent of men compared to 11 percent of women).
  • Asian (9 percent) and White residents (8 percent) were more likely to exhibit all four healthy behaviors than African American (6 percent) or Latino residents (3 percent).
  • In 2004, 11 percent of county residents were smokers, with rates highest among persons with only a high school education or less (18 percent), Latino residents (16 percent), and men (15 percent).
  • In 2004, 55 percent of county residents did not participate in regular physical activity.  Residents age 65 or older (73 percent), persons with only a high school education or less (63 percent), and women (58 percent) were least likely to participate in regular physical activity. 
  • In 2004, 19 percent of county residents were obese, a significant increase from 1998 when only 13 percent of residents were obese. 

Chronic diseases are long lasting and can cause limitations in daily activity.  Between 1998 and 2004, there were significant increases in the prevalence of certain chronic diseases including asthma, lung disease, and diabetes among county
residents. 

Data source: The Healthy Community Collaborative of San Mateo County

See appendix page 75, CLICK HERE. Researcher: Joe Rois

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From the 2014 Indicators Report

The county’s population is expected to grow by 185,000 before 2040.

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Quotable Quote

‟We understand the triple bottom lines of sustainability must all be addressed for us to be successful.”—William Clay Ford, Chairman, Ford Motor Company