Magazine article The Nation's Health

Santa Barbara, Calif., Report Provides Health Snapshot

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Santa Barbara, Calif., Report Provides Health Snapshot

Article excerpt

A COMMUNITY health status report that includes leading causes of premature death, risk factors and prevention steps was unveiled by the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department in Santa Barbara, Calif., during National Public Health Week.

The aim of the report was to provide information to county employees, the general public and local professionals about the health of residents.

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"Understanding the health of the community informs critical decision-making regarding program and policy development, resource allocation, and personal behavior," according to the report. "When we are well-informed with current statistical information and scientific data, we can make better decisions and take more effective actions that support healthier and longer lives."

In 2007, the county's 10 leading causes of premature death were coronary heart disease, motor vehicle accidents, accidental drug overdose, stroke, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, suicide, lung cancer, hypertensive heart disease, diabetes and pancreatic cancer.

The report focuses on the top three causes of premature death and explores risk factors and prevention strategies. For coronary heart disease, risk factors include lack of physical activity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight or obese. More than half of Santa Barbara County residents are obese or overweight.

Of the county's total 6,600 motor vehicle accidents in 2007, about 28 percent were linked to driving at an unsafe speed and 19 percent to improper turning. …

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