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Los Angeles

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I figured the air around Chicago rail yards would be dirty...but finding out was not as easy as it seemed.

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Though it is clear that South Los Angeles is park poor compared to rest of Los Angeles County, current fiscal problems lend people to dismiss the idea of spending more money creating parks, adding trees or fixing sidewalks. Turns out that maybe Los Angeles can’t afford not to invest in more nature.

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How does a new park in Culver City become a destination, while the urban trail of Stocker Corridor is overlooked by many of its own nearby residents?

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There are a lot reasons to head to South Los Angeles and hiking probably isn't at the top of your list. As home to nearly one million people, the region is one of the densest areas, but also the most park poor. There are 92 parks and recreation areas in South Los Angeles totaling about 1,200 acres. That translates to 1.2 acres for every 1,000 people, significantly less than the national standard of 6 acres. Of what's available, here are a handful of accessible areas of significant size that offer a chance to get back to nature and beauty within the city -- with a physical challenge, of course.

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The health of South Los Angeles suffers in part because much of this area was designed for the poor. The infrastructure itself plays a role. How did western L.A. County end up having 59 acres of park space per 1,000 people and South L.A. end up with 1.2? Many of the problems we are facing today were built into the very structure of the Los Angeles area. Today's environmental injustice was no accident in the Los Angeles area.

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While obesity is a problem for Americans in all walks of life, it’s worse when you don’t live near a park, when access to public transportation is limited, when sidewalks are broken and streetlights are few. In fact, a National Institutes of Health study found that just living in a socioeconomically deprived area leads to weight gain and a greater risk of dying at an early age. In stark terms, people in Culver City live an average of eight years longer than people in Jefferson Park, according to Crump. Yet these two communities in the middle of Los Angeles are only a couple of miles apart.

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Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen said numerous complaints spurred her to propose changes to the CalOptima board. Yet records show only five from all supervisors and other top elected officials in four months.

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Today's Daily Briefing has stories that link health to wealth and vice versa, an interactive on consumers' health spending and a lesson from the end of the long-term health insurance program CLASS.

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Journalist-blogger Isabelle Walker provides an in-depth look at what happens to homeless people who get seriously ill. Where can they go to recover?

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Southern California Reporting on Health readers, take note of an exciting workshop taking place in Los Angeles next weekend. Spend a day with the National Association of Black Journalists and hear from local journalists about how to improve the news coverage of health issues.

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