Failure to Thrive
Poor health impairs learning ability and quality of life, hurts productivity, and drains family savings. In Orange County, serious health issues for some threaten the well-being of the entire community.
The annual Well-Being Index, which polls Americans on factors such as emotional health, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities, offers context and clues to the health of Orange County residents.
California is among the healthiest states in the U.S. and, as a community, Orange County ranks favorably overall. But a closer look shows significant disparities within the county itself. Of 435 congressional districts nationwide, two adjoining districts in Orange County rank on opposite ends of the spectrum.
The 48th district (mostly south Orange County) is one of the best-off in the nation, ranking in the top 3 percent for basic access to food, shelter and medicine and the top 2 percent for overall well-being.
However, the neighboring 47th district (central and north Orange County) ranks in the bottom 1 percent for basic access and the bottom 30 percent in overall well-being.
This stark contrast can also be seen within each district where pockets of poverty exist next to areas of affluence. Research shows residents in challenged communities bear a greater burden of illness, suffer from poor nutrition and exercise habits, and struggle to provide basic needs for their families. These disparities diminish the quality of life for our county as a whole.