Causes of Illness
Why is this important?
Quality of life is in large part based on good health and freedom from illness.
What is the measure?
Community health care providers were surveyed about non-fatal health conditions that had the greatest impact on local residents. Chronic pain, mental health disorders, diabetes, poor physical conditions and risky sexual behavior are listed by local caregivers as important issues. The prevalence of most of these conditions was then quantified.12
How are we doing?
Living with chronic pain and mental health disorders, including substance addiction and dementia, were listed as primary issues for local residents. Behavioral health indicators are addressed under the Behavioral Health section of this report.
The age-adjusted percent of adults 18 years and over diagnosed with diabetes in 2001 in foothill counties (includes Tuolumne, Calaveras, Amador, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, and Alpine counties) was 6.3%,13 compared with a California average of 5.9%.14 However, the incidence among the Tuolumne County Me-Wuk population in 2002 was 11.4%, compared with California statewide diabetes prevalence in Native Americans of 9.3%.15
Obesity figures indicate age-adjusted obesity prevalence16 in foothill counties of 16.8%,17 compared with a California average of 18.4%. In Physical Fitness Testing for 5th, 7th, and 9th grade students in the 2003/2004 school year, 34% to 38% of Tuolumne County students failed to meet the Health Fitness Zone for a measure of conditioning called "Aerobic Capacity," compared to 40% to 50% of California students.18
Sexually transmitted diseases are increasing in frequency, particularly among the 15 to 25 year old population. This trend parallels the California data and most notably involves infections with chlamydia and gonorrhea.19 While the Tuolumne County rate appears lower than that of California, when compared with a racially comparable population, our sexually transmitted disease rate is very similar to the state average.