San Diegans could be living a collective 5,500 years longer if its inhabitants adopted a healthier lifestyle, according to a report released Tuesday.
Lowering an unusually high number of Sexually Transmitted Infections is just one of the areas San Diego County could improve upon, according to a ranking released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin.
Nearly 500 San Diegans out of 100,000 have Chlamydia. The average in California is about 400. The infection is a problem because it’s a major cause of fertility, the report says.
But one reason for the high number may be due to agressive reporting, said Deputy Public Health Officer Eric McDonald.
In any case, he added, it doesn't hurt for young, sexually active San Diegans to be vigilant in testing for the infection, which is asymptomatic. April is "Get Yourself Tested Month" and people are encouraged to get tested for both STIs and HIV.
Knowing health trouble-areas such as this one is important in lowering the collective mortality rate – or how many years people are losing due to premature death – said Brenda Henry, Senior Program Officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Other trouble areas include obesity and excessive drinking, according to the ranking. One in every four San Diegans is obese, and 17 percent of the county’s population partakes in excessive drinking.
The negative health outcomes listed are not isolated. One of the most important qualities of the report is the factors these outcomes are linked to, McDonald said.
For instance, half of all restaurants in San Diego are fast food restaurants. Though San Diegans typically have good access to health care, factors like this one also determine the county's overall health.
San Diego’s air quality also ranks higher than most other California cities, and teen birth rates are comparably low. These are listed as factors in the report that contribute to good overall health.