Visit us at www.countyhealthrankings.org to learn more. The 2011 County Health Rankings ranked San Bernardino County—which spans more than 20,000 square miles and a population of more than 2 million—50th out of 56 California counties in health factors like physical environment, social and economic factors, health behaviors and clinical care. The city of San Bernardino alone faces significant public health challenges, with a lower life expectancy, a higher homicide rate, and fewer parks and healthy food options than the rest of the state. Many other communities throughout the county share similar challenges associated with the county’s high poverty and unemployment levels, and its vast geography makes it difficult for many residents to reach centralized services. But initial disappointment over its low ranking didn’t prevent the San Bernardino County Health Department from seeing the County Health Rankings as an opportunity to strengthen its current health improvement initiatives and persuade policymakers of the need for change. In fact, by clearly showing where the county ranks on various health measures, the Rankings have helped inform the health department’s six-year drive to get every community in the county to launch a Healthy Communities initiative aimed at ensuring that all residents have the opportunity to live a healthy life. “The County Health Rankings are a terrific tool for us to take to policymakers because we can show that the status quo isn’t sufficient,” said Evelyn Trevino, program coordinator for San Bernardino County Healthy Communities. “It motivates support and action. We use it to get the message out.” To date, 17 of the county’s 24 jurisdictions are at some stage of implementing a Healthy City initiative locally. Three partner cities have updated their general plans to include health as a guiding principle. Others have enacted healthy city resolutions; changed zoning policies to allow community gardens and […]
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