San Bernardino County releases findings of children’s health study

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Community activists have released a study that examined the health of kids in one low-income area of San Bernardino. KPCC’s Steven Cuevas says the findings are troubling.

Steven Cuevas: San Bernardino Boys and Girls Club director A. Majadi says the health study was inspired by a recent field trip.

A. Majadi: We had a parade in Los Angeles in January, and I noticed that when we stopped at the corner, members of the drill team passed their inhalers around because everyone was short of breath. This was startling to me, so I thought it necessary for us to take these steps to determine what are the causal factors leading to these incidents.

Cuevas: Researchers talked to nearly 3,000 families in San Bernardino’s Westside, a predominantly African American and Latino area with some of the lowest incomes in the region. It found that 14 percent of Westside kids under the age of six have asthma. Around five percent have diabetes. And 40 percent of families have no health coverage.

Walter Hawkins: We understand in the everyday world that race is an indicator, not a predictor. But when it comes to health issues, race and economics are predictors.

Cuevas: Boys and Girls Club board member Walter Hawkins was one of the lead researchers. He says families without health insurance do have options, but the key is breaking down barriers to care.

Hawkins: Our main objective is to work with our elected officials, our health officials, and find out how we can distribute health services on a community by community basis and encourage people to find out what’s available to them. We have a lot of resources here so we feel that we can come up with ways to help our families.

Cuevas: The Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino plans on opening a family health resources center to do just that. It’s urging other community providers to offer similar services.