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California's adult smoking rate declines - Asthma, diabetes, obesity on the rise


Last updated 11/24/2006 at Noon

LOS ANGELES — Smoking among California adults fell significantly from 2001 to 2005, according to a new fact sheet from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, which relies on early data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey. The decline in adult smoking is the sole good news emerging from the early survey data, as three other important indicators of health – asthma, diabetes and obesity – all increased during the same period. The new fact sheet is available for review at

According to the fact sheet, the prevalence of adult smoking in 2005 was 15.2 percent, down from 16.5 percent in 2003 and 17.1 percent in 2001. The survey actually shows a slight increase in smoking among adolescents from 2003 (5.8 percent) to 2005 (6.5 percent), but the increase is not statistically significant. No comparable data on adolescent smoking is available for 2001.

Unlike smoking, the fact sheet indicates that asthma is a rising health concern in California. Among children ages 1 to 17, the percentage of those diagnosed with asthma rose from 14.1 percent in 2001 to 15.5 percent in 2003 to 16.1 percent in 2005. Among adults, the percentage of those diagnosed with asthma rose from 11.3 percent in 2001 to 12.3 percent in 2003 to 12.7 percent in 2005.

Diabetes among California adults is also a growing concern. In 2005, 7 percent of adults had been diagnosed with diabetes, up from 6.2 percent in 2001 and 6.6 percent in 2003.

Overweight and obesity, significant health risk factors, are also increasing. In 2005, the percentage of adults who were obese was 21.2 percent, up from 20.4 percent in 2003 and 19.3 percent in 2001. The survey data suggests that the percentage of adolescents who are overweight is also increasing although the percentage change from 2001 (12.4 percent) to 2005 (14.2 percent) is not statistically significant.

The fact sheet was developed with a grant from The California Endowment.


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