Community Profile: County of San Diego, California
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“HEALTHY WORKS CONTINUES THE COUNTY'S AGGRESSIVE EFFORTS IN OBESITY PREVENTION. WE ARE DETERMINED TO MAKE THE NECESSARY CHANGES ALLOWING COUNTY RESIDENTS BETTER ACCESS TO HEALTHY CHOICES, INCLUDING HEALTHY ACTIVITIES.”
— Pam Slater-Price, Chairwoman, County of San Diego Board of Supervisors
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“I LOVE THE FARMERS' MARKET. NOT ONLY FOR THE HEALTHY AND INTERESTING FOODS YOU FIND, BUT IT'S A WAY TO SUPPORT YOUR COMMUNITY AND MEET INTERESTING NEW PEOPLE.”
— Kenneth, San Diego County resident
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
San Diego County, California, is tackling obesity throughout the community, which is home to more than 3 million residents. Approximately 33% of adults in San Diego County are overweight and 26% are obese. Further, nearly 30% of San Diego County children in grades five, seven, and nine are overweight or obese.
Obesity rates among certain ethnic and racial populations in San Diego County are disproportionately high. For example, 21.8% of Hispanic students in the county aged 5-19 are overweight, compared to 17.3% of their white peers. Additionally, only 23.2% of Latino fifth graders meet fitness standards, compared to 40% of Asians and 41% of whites. In addition to obesity-prevention efforts aimed at the county's entire population, certain initiatives target these high-risk groups.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, San Diego County has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease the prevalence of obesity, San Diego County:
- Increased access to healthy foods for more than 6,000 low-income residents by encouraging farmers' markets to accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards as a form of payment.
- Launched a new farm-to-school lunch program in the San Diego Unified School District. Through this program, more than 72,000 healthy lunches featuring fresh food from local farms are provided to public school students each day.
- Facilitated the establishment of community gardens in the City of San Diego by removing costly permitting and zoning restrictions associated with the process. For example, a community garden was recently established in the Mount Hope neighborhood of southeast San Diego as a result of this initiative.
- Created a public health stakeholders group, composed of multidisciplinary experts, that ensures physical activity and nutrition are incorporated into all aspects of public planning including land use and transportation.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
The Healthy Works program is addressing obesity in San Diego County. This multifaceted initiative focuses on promoting physical activity, increasing access to healthy food, and fostering healthy school environments. Projects have included expanding physical education programs that have reached more than 177,000 students and Safe Routes to School, which enables and encourages children to walk or bike to school; increasing availability of school breakfast for more than 25,700 low-income students and summer meal programs at 64 meal and community sites; and establishing school and community gardens. Together, these efforts are making healthier living easier for residents in San Diego County.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of San Diego County's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- Accord Limited
- Active Living Research, San Diego State University
- Advisory Council on Aging and Independence Services
- California Endowment
- City of La Mesa
- County of San Diego Board of Supervisors
- County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
- County of San Diego Land Use and Environmental Group
- Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego
- Rady Children's Hospital
- San Diego City Schools
- Page last reviewed: October 25, 2013
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