City folk are less likely to be overweight or obese and are more likely to report better overall health when they live in an area with a 28 percent tree canopy, compared to those who live in urban areas with sparser tree cover, according to a Sacramento Bee op-ed article. California Health Interview Survey data on health outcomes were used in the study on which the article is based.
Health outcomes were compared for people living in two hypothetical urban neighborhoods, one with an 18 percent tree canopy and one with a 28 percent tree canopy. Various factors, including income, education, home ownership and race were controlled in order to compare identical populations.
The study estimated that those living in areas with a more expansive tree canopy would have a lower incidence of various health problems: 20 percent lower rates of diabetes and obesity in adults, 23 percent lower rates for being overweight/obese in teens, and 28 percent lower rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.
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Only an estimated 27.2 percent of California adults surveyed ate their recommended three servings of fruits and vegetables the previous day, according to the Center’s new 2011-12 Race and Ethnicity Health Profile, a report on the health status of the state’s diverse population. Consumption varied by race and ethnicity, although nearly 1 in 3 mixed-race and white adults reported following the dietary guideline.
Evolution of community design and street networks in the U.S., from grid pattern (left) to tree-like (right).
People who live in older, compact cities with shorter blocks and more intersections – which promote more walking and biking — have lower rates of obesity, diabetes and other diseases, according to a study by the universities of Colorado and Connecticut published in the Journal of Health and Transport.
The study, which used California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) data, analyzed street network density, connectivity and configuration and how they affected rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and asthma in 24 medium-sized California cities, such as Apple Valley, Berkeley, Davis, San Luis Obispo, Temecula and Victorville.
- Wider streets with more lanes correlated with increased obesity and diabetes rates, possibly because wide streets indicated an inferior pedestrian environment.
- “Big box” stores indicated poor walkability in a neighborhood and were linked to a 13.7 percent increase in obesity rates and a 24.9 percent increase in diabetes rates.
- More fast food restaurants were associated with higher diabetes rates and more convenience stores with higher rates of obesity and diabetes.
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Medicaid enrollees use emergency departments (ED) more than privately insured and uninsured patients, and the use accounts for 4 percent of all Medicaid spending, according study results published in a Medscape Medical News story.
The findings by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC) also say that 10 percent of visits by adult, nonelderly Medicaid patients are for nonemergency treatment, comparable to nonemergency ED usage by privately insured patients. Those findings differ from a January report that said Medicaid expansion in Oregon in 2008 resulted in Medicaid patients using EDs 40 percent more than privately insured patients.
The Center’s Dylan Roby said that even if there were increased ED use, Medicaid expansion could prevent costly inpatient hospital stays.
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Associate Center Director Steve Wallace speaking at state Senate select committee hearing on long-term care.
The “ideal” long-term care program for older and disabled adult Californians would be a universal system that everyone paid into and could use regardless of income level “just like we do with Social Security or homeowners’ insurance,” said Steven Wallace, associate director of the Center, at a state Senate select committee hearing in July.
The informational hearing was chaired by California State Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), chair of the Senate Select Committee on Aging and Long Term Care. Findings from the July hearing, including a video recording, will be presented today in Sacramento during a joint Senate/Assembly session on long-term care.
Nearly half of Americans said that “much higher” price increases would be “a major problem” during upcoming health exchange enrollment, according to a bankrate.com survey. The Center’s Dylan Roby said increases should level out to 6 to 8 percent over time, far below the annual increases of 20 to 25 percent that were common before enactment of health reform.
The survey also said a quarter of those surveyed thought that enrollment “glitches” would be a problem during upcoming health exchange sign-ups. Roby said Californians may have a sunnier outlook because their exchanges operated more smoothly, but in other states where rollout was rockier “there’s probably less optimism.”
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