Economic prosperity and inclusion: the County’s role (pt 1 of 2)

Economic prosperity and inclusion: the County’s role (pt 1 of 2)

Economic prosperity does not happen by accident.  It is a byproduct of hard work, sacrifice, ingenuity, and – frequently – a bit of luck.  However, just as economic prosperity doesn’t just happen, it is also true that a complex set of factors has contributed to generational wealth limitations that have huge impacts on economic stagnation.  You might be wondering why as a candidate for the County Board of Supervisors I released an Opportunity4All plan to address economic growth or why I would be talking at all about economic inclusion and wealth. The answer might surprise you.The County of San Diego has a very clear role in protecting and promoting the public’s health.  This isn’t just for infectious disease like our deadly Hepatitis A outbreak, it extends to population health related to chronic disease, addiction, and mental health issues as well. As the only candidate in the field with a professional background in public health and relevant experience evaluating public health and social service programs, one thing that occurred to me is that there is a very well-documented link between health and wealth. These statistics bring the point home:

  • Among children born to families at 200% of the federal poverty level or less, fewer than 50% enter kindergarten ready for school with their peers and only 41% graduate high school
  • Poor adults are almost 5x more likely to report being in fair or poor health than their well-off peers
  • Children living in poverty are at greater risk for inadequate nutrition, have higher rates of asthma and are at greater risk of becoming obese than other children
  • Adults in poverty have higher rates of stroke, diabetes, kidney disease than their well-to-do peers

In short, the more economic prosperity we can foster, the better off our society will be and – critically – the better our overall health will be, too.  In part two of this series I will complete the connection between health, wealth, and the County’s leadership role in helping move our region forward.

Read Opportunity4All Economic Inclusion Plan

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