More than half of Santa Barbara County’s adults and one third of its teenagers are obese or overweight, and heart disease is the leading cause of death in the county. This information and much more comes in the 2011 Community Health Status Report, a study conducted every two years by the county Public Health Department.
According to the report, 28.6 percent of teens drink two or more glasses of soda per day, and 83.5 percent ate fast food at least once a week in 2009. Only 38.7 percent of children are active for an hour a day, with 11.7 percent completely sedentary. Just more than 40 percent of children and teens who could walk or bike to school actually do.
The county’s life expectancy is better than the California average, and rates of death from heart disease and diabetes are lower that the state’s. Though heart disease leads the way in premature deaths, the number actually decreased by 26 percent. Following close behind in the premature-death category were motor vehicle accidents, accidental drug overdoses, and liver disease. The adult smoking level is only 9 percent, one of the lowest in the state. A lack of smoking is a large factor in decreasing premature heart disease deaths.
The study found there was an increase in the population that was uninsured all or part of the year, while the population living below the federal poverty level rose from 14.5 percent to 19.0 percent. The report is available online at the county’s Web site, countyofsb.org.