Asian Residents Have Longest Life Expectancy In LA County

LOS ANGELES (CNS/FOX 11) - Asian residents in Los Angeles County have a life expectancy of 85.8 years, a full decade longer than black residents, who have an expectancy of 75.6 years, according to a county Department of Public Health report released Thursday.

According to the department's Community Health Assessment, life expectancy varies greatly among racial and ethnic groups. Latino residents have a life expectancy of 83.1 years, while white residents average 80.8 years.

Coronary heart disease and homicide -- both of which disproportionately affect black residents -- are the two leading causes of premature death in the county, according to the report. Suicide and motor vehicle collisions ranked third and fourth.

"Stark differences in health status and the opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle persist among Los Angeles County residents,'' said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, the county's interim health officer. "Understanding how disparities have a significant impact on health among various groups is critical to help improve health for all county residents and also to help define health-related priorities, policies and programs.

"It will take collaboration across all sectors of our community to address the root causes of poor health in Los Angeles County,'' he said.

The report notes that in addition to death by illness, "too many lives are tragically lost as a result of violence and injuries including homicides and automobile collisions.''

Average life expectancy for county residents in 2010 was 81.5 years, according to the report. That was up from 78.8 years in 2001. The life expectancy for men is 78.8 years, while it is 84.1 years for women.

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the county and across the United States. In 2010, 12,635 died of heart disease in the county.

There were 3,278 deaths from stroke, 2,941 from lung cancer and 2,622 from emphysema/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Alzheimer's disease claimed 2,242 lives, according to the report.

The report noted that poisonings have increased dramatically to become one of the top causes of injury-related death. In 2010, there were 792 poisoning deaths, or 7.8 deaths per 100,000 people.

"Most poisoning are caused by over-the-counter, prescription and illegal drugs,'' according to the report.

The report's authors said that eliminating the "significant disparities associated with life expectancy and premature death is a key public health goal for Los Angeles County to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to live a long, high-quality life.''

"To promote public health, bold prevention strategies are critically needed to build vibrant and safe communities for all Los Angeles County residents, protecting them from harm and encouraging healthy living to enable a long and healthy life,'' according to the report.

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