OnCentral | Reporting on health and quality of life in South LA

1 in 5 Americans knows a gun violence victim; 4 in 10 worry about becoming one

TEC-9 handguns, pictured above, were recovered in Los Angeles at a recent gun buyback organized by the LAPD. A new poll suggests that 75 percent of Latinos and 62 percent of black people worry about becoming a victim of gun violence.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

One in five Americans knows a victim of gun violence, according to a new survey, and 42 percent worry about becoming one.

That's according to a new Kaiser Health Tracking Poll, which added that among survey respondents who said they knew a victim, more than 60 percent said that victim was a family member, good friend – or that they themselves were the victim.

Among the groups most likely to know a victim of gun violence:

  • Black people: 42 percent reported knowing one.
  • People between 18 and 29 years old: 28 percent.
  • Residents of an urban area: 24 percent.

Pollsters also measured people's worry about being a victim of gun violence. More than four in 10 Americans worry about that, suggested the poll, and breaking down the numbers shows that's even higher in some groups:


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What clogged arteries can mean for stroke risk and a study on sexting: In health news today

A recent survey of high-schoolers found that 20 percent reported sending a sext and 30 percent reported receiving one.
Alex Ragone/Flickr Creative Commons

In today's health news:

It's well-known that clogged arteries can lead to a heart attack, but now a new study links them definitively to another serious condition: stroke. Research appearing in a journal named, appropriately, Stroke, found that among a patient pool of nearly 4,200, 92 strokes occurred. Among those victims, artery blockage was significantly higher than it was in their counterparts who didn't have a stroke.

Nearly 25 percent of breast cancer patients have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder shortly after their diagnosis, says a new study. HealthDay reports that the risk of PTSD is 50 percent higher among black and Asian women than it is among white women, and that young women are more likely than older women to have post-diagnosis PTSD symptoms.

A study that looked at more than 1,000 high school sophomores, most of whom were black or Latino, found that more than 20 percent of them reported sending a nude or semi-nude photo or video or sexual text-only message at least once. The Los Angeles Times adds that more than 30 percent reported receiving one. Young black men and women were more likely than Latino males to sext, and young Latina women were found to be the least likely to partake.


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State of South LA's well-being: So-so, according to new rankings

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is the head of a congressional district that had a poor showing in newly-released rankings of well being: Her CA-43 placed 368th among 436 districts, pulling especially bad scores in the area of basic access to resources like health and dental care.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

California's ranking when it comes to general well-being is nothing to brag about, but at least it's not West Virginia.

Gallup-Healthways released its annual list of well-being rankings on Thursday, in which it surveys and evaluates all 50 states. For 2012, California took home a relatively undistinguished No.-18 ranking, giving it bragging rights over states like New York (No. 30) and beleaguered West Virginia (No. 50).

But look at it this way – geographically speaking, you can't get any closer to greatness than the Golden State did. Hawaii, more than 2,000 miles away from the mainland, took No. 1.

Pollsters looked at six areas:

  • Life evaluation: This measure combines a person's evaluation of their "present life situation" with her or his "anticipated life situation" in five years.
  • Physical health: This looked at factors like body mass index (weight), diseases and sick days taken.
  • Emotional health: This took experiences like depression, anger, happiness, worry and stress into account.
  • Healthy behavior: Surveyors looked at whether respondents smoked and how healthy their eating and exercise habits were.
  • Work environment: This looked at how people perceived work and measured job satisfaction, the ability to use their strengths at work, how people's bosses treated them and whether they worked in a trusting, open workplace.
  • Basic access: This measured respondents' access to resources like clean water, medicine, a safe place to exercise, affordable produce and access to health and dental care.


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Tour healthy food stops in South LA with weekend bike ride

This Sunday at 10 a.m. a group bike ride will head out to tour South L.A.'s healthy food spots.
Flickr via waltarrrrr

Last weekend, a coalition of bicycling and community groups hopped on their two-wheelers for a group ride through South Los Angeles, touring healthy food spots in neighborhoods that are sometimes described as "food deserts." 

South L.A. is known for a lack of fresh food options, an abundance of fast food and a high rate of obesity -- but this bike ride aims to show something different.

"This easy and celebratory ride will feature stops by local community gardens, and show how bicycling can be a bridge to many hidden local food resources," according to a statement from Ride South L.A., the group organizing the ride.

Anyone with a bike was invited to meet at Mercado La Paloma on Grand Avenue at 10 a.m. to push off on a test run of the group's new Healthy Food Map of South L.A. The map, which is also available online, is meant to show the public that healthy living is possible in this community.


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Sugar may play direct role in type 2 diabetes development after all, says study

The availability of sugary foods has been directly tied to the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in a new study.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

A new study with an international scope may shed more light on the nature of the connection between sugar intake and diabetes risk.

The predominant line of thinking has been this: Obesity is the primary risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome, which refers to a group of risk factors, also plays an important role.

Experts always believed that sugar played a role in the development of type 2 diabetes: Overconsumption of the stuff was a major factor in rising obesity rates. In other words, because unhealthy sugar habits contributed to obesity, they contributed – by association – to diabetes, too.

But that may not be the line of thinking for long. A new study appearing in PLOS ONE appears to have established a direct link between sugar availability and type 2 diabetes rates, independent of obesity rates and other factors, like age, income and lifestyle.


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