Areas of Coronado and San Marcos have the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in San Diego County, according to state data that tracks the number of heart-attack-related emergency room visits.
In the northwest area of Coronado, which encompasses the North Island Naval Air Station, the rate of heart attacks from 2011 to 2013 is about 1.7 per 10,000 people, the lowest rate in the county.
It’s followed by a southern Coronado area, between the Hotel Del Coronado and Silver Strand Beach, with a rate of 2.4, and two sections of San Marcos.
The data were collected as part of CalEnviroScreen 3.0, an interactive tool that helps identify communities most affected by pollution. The California Environmental Protection Agency analyzes more than a dozen sources of pollution with socioeconomic and public health conditions to help identify environmentally-disadvantaged communities.
According to the California EPA, cardiovascular disease is an important health factor to include because short-term exposure to outdoor air pollution following a heart attack has been shown to increase the risk of death. Long-term exposure to air pollution may also result in premature death for people with a previous heart attack.
All data is broken down on the census tract level, which are small geographic areas inside cities and counties, allowing for a neighborhood -to-neighborhood comparison that takes population size into account.
Two census tracts in San Marcos come next. The area between West Mission Road and South San Marcos Boulevard has a rate of 2.5, followed by southeast San Marcos, between South Twin Oaks Valley Road and Harmony Grove Road, with a rate of 2.8 heart attacks per 10,000 people.
Only areas with a population of more than 2,000 were included in the rankings to eliminate skewed rates.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, five census tracts in National City have the highest rate of heart attacks, about 10.3 emergency room visits per 10,000 people.
They’re followed by an area encompassing Azalea-Hollywood Park and Fairmont Park, near the intersection of state Routes 15 and 94, with a rate of 9.97.
Data show all six areas have high diesel emission levels. About 60.33 kilograms of diesel particles were released each day from road and non-road sources in 2012. That’s higher than the emission levels in 97 percent of all census tracts in California.
Cardiovascular data used in the analysis come from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, which collects information on emergency department visits and hospitalizations from different causes in California. Emergency department visits for heart attacks are currently the best available way of describing differences in cardiovascular disease across the state at the census tract level. The cardiovascular disease rate included in the map represents the number of heart attack emergency department visits per 10,000 people from 2011 to 2013.
Gov. Jerry Brown passed in 2012 legislation that required 25 percent of cap-and-trade auction proceeds to go to projects located in communities particularly vulnerable to pollution and its effects.
This prompted state officials to create CalEnviroScreeen, which helps identify at-risk communities and prioritize funding for grants and other programs.