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Can $16 Million in Public Health Funds Reverse County’s Obesity Problems?

9:50 AM PDT on March 13, 2012

LA County is the most populous county in the nation. Almost 10 million residents claim LA County as home. Keeping tabs on the health of the community and providing health services to such a large and robust population is a big task. And while the public perception is that LA is one of the healthiest cities in the nation, its’ not all sushi and California burgers served up in the city. The real numbers may surprise you. LA County’s obesity rates are rising.

According to the Center for Disease Controlslightly more than 1 in 4 adults in LA County are obese (26.2%). One in five students in LA

Programs such as the "Bike Wrangler" are funded through a RENEW Grant. For more on that program ##http://lacbc.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/announcing-the-bike-wrangler/##click here.##

County are obese. Obesity is one of the most significant risk indicators contributing to chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease as well as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. With such a high percentage of residents on a course towards poor health the LA County of Department of Public Health is rightly concerned about future high health costs.

This is why LA County recently earmarked $16 million in funds for RENEW LA. RENEW LA targets the issues that lead to obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The program wants to make a “new norm” in which healthy eating and active lifestyles replace fast food and sitting in front of the TV. The program focuses on three key elements:

    1. Eating healthy.  RENEW LA will increase accessibility to healthy foods in high-need areas transforming the corner store environment to include health options. Schools will have more nutritious meals. County hospitals and health departments will implement breast feeding education policies.
    2. Move healthy. RENEW LA will expand physical education in elementary, junior high and high schools including after-school programs.
    3. Live healthy: RENEW LA will provide safe, open spaces for recreation and physical activities. It will also help strengthen and enforce policies that make the streets safer for walkers, bikers and exercising.

The policy hopes to have far reaching effects on the community, local business and the individual. The next step should be to engage health and medical employees in LA to promote healthy behavior. The best way to teach the benefits of healthy living is in person and who better to have a talk than a trusted doctor. For example continuing education services in the medical sector like Pacific Medical Training’s Los Angeles ACLS classes would be ideal instruments to relay instructions and RENEW LA goals to regional medical professionals.

Good luck, RENEW LA. If this means more healthy people walking around LA, then its $16 million put to good use.

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