The importance of programs like the one that created seven new running clubs in North County elementary schools this year have been confirmed by a new study released by Palomar Pomerado Health system, says Janet Bath, the public health district’s community outreach coordinator.
That’s because in the recent $14,500 study detailing the demographics Palomar Pomerado Health serves, residents rated obesity a top health concern. Another key concern was access to care.
The study revealed a number of disparities in the health of Latinos when compared with other populations. Hispanic children, for example, are more likely to be overweight in North County than non-Hispanic, white children: 33.7 percent vs. 20.2 percent, respectively. Latinos make up 26 percent of the population the hospital system serves.
Preventing obesity and diabetes is the goal of the running club effort, along with one that encourages students to learn about making salads in school, Bath said.
Palomar Pomerado Health’s geographic area covers inland North County, including Escondido, Ramona, Poway, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma and Valley Center. The district covers an 800-square-mile area, making it the state’s largest hospital district, according to the Palomar Pomerado Web site.
For the last few years, she said, management at Palomar Pomerado Health has been emphasizing a more selective approach to spending, and officials at Palomar Pomerado Health said the study should help better allocate resources.
“I don’t think they’re asking us to be frugal,” she said. “They’re just asking us to be wise.”
Bath emphasized that the $753 million gained through a bond issue passed in November is for a master facilities expansion plan only. The system is building a new hospital in Escondido, renovating another hospital, and constructing four new satellite medical centers.
Palomar Pomerado Health’s study didn’t “knock anybody off their chair,” said Mike Moder, who runs locally based Moder Research Communications, Inc., which compiled the study, but it did confirm that the hospital is addressing the proper issues, said Bath.
Findings of the study will be dispersed in the community, Bath said, and two forums are likely to be held to discuss the results, though no dates have been set. She said officials at the hospital are not done combing through the fine details of the report yet.
Some highlights of the study found that trends in North County are pretty much in line with those found in the countywide study conducted every three years by the Community Health Improvement Partners a division of the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties.