More than a third of California's adults and a nearly a sixth of its children suffer from chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure or psychological distress, according to a new report from the California Healthcare Foundation.
The lengthy report, prepared by researchers at UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research, follows on another recent study indicating that California's ranks of the medically uninsured have grown sharply to more than 8 million persons. And both were issued as Congress considers President Barack Obama's historic overhaul of health coverage.
Based on 2007, the report is similar to those issued two and four years ago and includes a county-by-county breakdown of chronic illness. It found, for instance, that nearly half of residents in the Tehama-Glenn-Colusa county region, one of the state's poorest areas, have chronic conditions, while those in wealthy Marin County have the state's lowest incidence, at 28 percent.
A similar disparity was found among children with chronic conditions, ranging from 22.7 percent in poor, rural Imperial County to 8.3 percent in adjacent, but affluent, San Diego County.
Overall, San Luis Obispo and Marin counties were found to have the best health indices and Lake County the worst.
The report notes that chronic health conditions are the leading causes of death and disability and the largest component of health-care costs. The full report is available here.