Study shows Angelenos most stressed in nation

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES The study released by the American Psychological Association on Tuesday indicates that most of that stress stems from money concerns, work and the economy. These stress factors are contributing to an increase in health problems.

The "Stress in America" report also found a jump in the level of chronic health problems like arthritis and asthma. Asthma increased from 7 percent to 13 percent and arthritis increased from 11 percent to 18 percent from 2009 to 2010.

On the flip side, the number of Los Angeles residents who believe they are in very good or excellent health was lower than the national average.

In 2009, 57 percent of L.A. residents reported the economy as a significant source of stress. That number jumped to 75 percent for 2010. The nationwide average is between 73 and 74 percent.

Also, the percentage of L.A. residents who pointed to money problems as a source of stress jumped from 67 percent to 76 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Meanwhile, more residents are reporting lower job satisfaction this year than last, with 64 percent dropping to 58 percent. "Even if they have a job, they are finding that their friends are losing their jobs and its hard to do things like hang on to their jobs or even supply gifts during the holidays," said psychologist Dr. Michi Fu.

The new study also indicated that Los Angeles residents are gaining weight. The percentage of Angelenos told by a doctor that they're overweight or obese increased from 25 percent to 29 percent from 2009 to 2010.

"So we're all stressed out? What's the most important thing we can do to alleviate it? The most important thing is to do seek social support such as family friends, church and do something active," Fu recommended.

Stress is also taking a toll on children. According to the study, 69 percent of parents think their children are not feeling the residual effects of their stress, but 91 percent of kids ranging ages 8 to 17 years old said that when their parents are stressed, they feel it too.

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.

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