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Push to narrow health disparity gap

Posted at 4:35 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 20:02:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — New efforts are underway to narrow the health disparities between under-served areas and those that are more affluent. They come as the Omicron variant is discovered in California.

Dr. Akilah Weber grew up in the Southern San Diego County state assembly district she now represents in Sacramento. She wants the people who live there to enjoy long, healthy lives.

"In order to improve health, you have to realize that the things around you are what is necessarily making you sick or making you not be sick," said Weber (D-79).

On Wednesday in La Mesa, Weber hosted the initial meeting of her Select Committee on the Social Determinants of Health. What comes out of the meetings could spur future legislation, such as bills to increase access to healthier foods, parks for exercise, transit options, or health care facilities.

"All of these things play into the health outcomes of families and individuals here in California," Weber said.

For example, the Multicultural Health Foundation reports life expectancy in the 92114 Southern San Diego ZIP code as 79 years, whereas La Jolla's 92037 was 85 years.

Weber noted residents in under-served IP codes tend to have more pre-existing conditions, making them more susceptible to Covid and the Omicron variant.

"Unfortunately, with this new variant that is now in California, those very same communities still have to be very diligent about getting vaccinations," Weber said, adding that's on top of social distancing and mask-wearing.

Weber said it was too early to talk about specific legislation from the meetings. The committee's next meeting will be in a couple of months in Sacramento.

RELATED: 1st case of omicron variant identified in California, officials say