Los Angeles is a city with many health inequities, and where a person lives often determines their health destiny. Residents in low-income communities such as Boyle Heights and South Los Angeles are more likely to be obese, suffer from respiratory health issues, and live in communities with high pollution, and have less access to resources such as safe park spaces or grocery stores. Geographic location is such an important indicator of health that a person who lives in Watts can expect to live 12 years less than a person who lives in Brentwood.
Health is often attributed to individual choices: eating fresh fruits and vegetables, avoiding unhealthy choices such as smoking, and doing regular exercise, and getting the proper medical care. For many people, particularly those with limited financial resources, a healthy lifestyle is not a matter of choice, but rather an issue of access and opportunity. There is an increased awareness that where people live, and the opportunities they can access, influences their health.
The Plan for a Healthy Los Angeles is an effort of the Department of City Planning to elevate health as a priority in the city's future growth and development. The draft is now available for public review until May 13.