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October 20, 2016

Cecilia Laiché
The California Wellness Foundation
(818) 702-1911

New Report Finds Many Californians Live in Unhealthy Communities

Advancing Wellness Poll sheds light on barriers to health and wellness and solutions to overcome them

Woodland Hills (CA) – The very places that should feel healthy and safe – homes and neighborhoods – don’t for many Californians. A new report released today finds one third of Californians consider their communities unhealthy places to live. Among low-income residents, that number is nearly half.

The Advancing Wellness Poll, funded by The California Wellness Foundation, finds that problems such as rising income inequality, crime, environmental pollution and lack of economic opportunity are taking a toll on Californians’ health and wellness – and residents know it. These findings follow national research showing California now has the greatest health disparities in the country, and they disproportionally impact low-income residents and people of color.

“Where we live, work and play shouldn’t determine our health and wellness,” said Judy Belk, president and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation. “But for too many Californians, the safety of our neighborhoods, the quality of our schools, the cleanliness of our environment and our ability to earn a living where we live affect our well-being.”

The Foundation funded the Advancing Wellness Poll to hear directly from Californians about their health and what it means to live in a healthy community. The poll, conducted by Field Research Corporation, surveyed nearly 2,200 California adults in seven languages and dialects to capture perspectives across the state’s diverse populations. The Foundation also is partnering with Zócalo Public Square to share the stories behind the data and spark conversations about health and wellness in communities facing health disparities.

“By lifting community voices, we can jumpstart critical conversations about barriers to health and wellness in California,” said Richard Tate, Cal Wellness’ vice president of public affairs. “The Advancing Wellness Poll is a powerful tool for policymakers, foundations and community leaders as we work to address the root causes of health inequities across the state.”

The poll finds that those impacted most by health disparities in California want community groups to take an active role in closing those gaps. Zócalo’s stories illustrate how communities across the state are taking innovative steps to create healthier people and places.

The Foundation will use these findings to guide its grantmaking and establish benchmarks to track its progress. To view the full report, visit:

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About The California Wellness Foundation

Cal Wellness is a private, independent foundation created in 1992 with a mission to improve the health of the people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness education and disease prevention. The Foundation’s Advancing Wellness grants program promotes equity through advocacy and access and includes three interconnected portfolios: Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care, Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods and Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. The program also includes the Opportunity Fund to support innovation in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Since its founding, Cal Wellness has awarded 8,062 grants totaling more than $946 million. Learn more at or call Cal Wellness’ Public Affairs Department at (818) 702-1911.


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To protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California by increasing access to health care, quality education, good jobs, healthy environments and safe neighborhoods.

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