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San Diego Health Facts and Statistics


A lower percentage of San Diegans have diabetes (6.3%) or asthma (12.8%), compared to other Californians (7.8% and 13.6%, respectively) 

“California has been progressive in not only pushing for improved air quality but also creating an environment of greater awareness pertaining to the detrimental effects of smoking. I would like to think that San Diego’s many excellent asthma specialists have played a part in our lower rate. Scripps Clinic, through the efforts of Dr. Donald Stevenson and Dr. Andrew White, has been at the forefront of research on aspirin-sensitive respiratory disease. The American Lung Association in San Diego, primarily through the efforts of Dr. Michael Welch, has had a yearly asthma camp, which has helped tremendously in educating children with asthma. Finally, the San Diego Asthma Coalition, which includes many organizations such as Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group and Sharp Health Plan, has provided leadership in identifying, developing,
mobilizing, and coordinating resources to positively impact the lives of many people affected by asthma.” (2007—California HealthCare Foundation).*

— John Pauls, M.D., Allergy and Immunology at Sharp Rees-Stealy Downtown

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in San Diego 

“Cardiovascular disease, which encompasses coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, aortic and peripheral vascular disease, is by far the leading cause of mortality in the United States, not just in San Diego. We may have some edge over other areas of the country—fewer smokers, a generally more active lifestyle. There is no question the name of the game is prevention. The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ is felt to be very advantageous in terms of vascular risk and there is no more ‘Mediterranean’ a climate than in San Diego. We have an abundance of the elements of this very healthy diet right here. For instance, this heart-healthy eating plan is full of fruits and vegetables, many of which are grown locally year-round. Eating fish, such as tuna or salmon, two to three times a week is also part of the plan, and living in a coastal city makes these easier to find at a cheaper price. Our weather permits virtually any form of exercise one can imagine. We need to take advantage of these opportunities and, most importantly, start our children on the right path. Only then will the somewhat grim statistics on cardiovascular disease improve.” (County of San Diego Medical Examiner).

—Dennis Leahy, M.D., FACC, Cardiologist, Escondido Cardiology Associates, Palomar Medical Center

Nearly 60% of San Diego’s adult population is either overweight or obese. That’s more than half of us.

“We are on par with the rest of the country, which is nothing to brag about. There are financial and social stressors that have people working longer hours, leaving us less time to exercise. … San Diego is a community of 3 million and only about 25 percent are doing what they need to … walking 150 minutes per week is the accepted minimum for maintenance. … [At my Walk With Your Doc program,] we’ve had anywhere between 10 and 70 people show up [on any given morning]. Another big thing I see is that 80 percent of us are walking around dehydrated. We need to drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water. I call caffeinated and alcoholic drinks ‘negative water,’ so if you’ve had six glasses of water and four cups of coffee, guess how much water you’ve had that day? Zero.”   ((Source: Dr. Moreno)

—Michael Moreno, M.D., Family Medicine Physician and Physician in Charge, Kaiser Permanente, Rancho San Diego Medical Office Building

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