Survey ranks L.A. County behind Orange, Ventura in health outcomes

Los Angeles County is the state's 28th healthiest county, according to new rankings

According to a national survey, new data shows that Los Angeles County ranks 26th best in health outcomes when compared with California's 57 other counties.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute released their annual county health rankings this week, which use a variety of factors -- including diet, exercise, violent crime, access to care, housing, transit and education -- to measure health across the country. 

In this year's rankings, L.A. County did better than the state average for premature deaths, but its overall health outcome score -- which considers length and quality of life -- was brought down by a higher percentage of residents in poor health and born with a low birth weight. 

Neighboring Orange County came in 5th, Ventura County 14th and San Bernardino County 37th. Several other large counties, such as San Diego, Alameda, San Francisco and Riverside, came in just above L.A.

Since 2010, Los Angeles County has bounced between 26th and 28th. 

The rankings also look at the factors that affect health outcomes, such as income and medical care.

Los Angeles County -- home to more than a quarter of the state's population -- did worst in clinical care, with lower-than-state-average rates of diabetic monitoring and mammography screening and a higher-than-average number of preventable hospital stays and percentage of uninsured people.

For the first time in the survey’s six years, researchers measured economic inequality in each county, dividing the household income at the 80th percentile level with that at the 20th. A score of 6, for example, would mean that high-income households in that county on average make six times more than low-income households. 

They found that the income inequality across the nation ranged from 2.6 to 9.6, with a national median of 4.4. California received an income inequality score of 5.1, and L.A. County 5.3.

L.A. County just missed the cut-off for most severe income inequality in the nation; the researchers found that the 10% of counties with the worst gaps had ratios of 5.4 or higher.

The data also showed that premature death rates have been falling in most counties across the country. California's Imperial County was one of the top 10 big counties -- with populations greater than 65,000 people -- with the greatest decrease in premature deaths since 2010.

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