Monday, February 17, 2014

Tell me your ZIP, I'll tell you about your health

Just in from the Colorado Health Foundation.  Move evidence of the interrelated complexity of poverty.  This poverty is destroying our neighborhoods. 

Health by ZIP Code

Where You Live Determines Your Health – for Good or Ill
Feature 1 - Health by ZIP Code
By Sandy Graham
Opportunities for good health bypass far too many people, in Colorado and nationwide.
If you live in a poor neighborhood, chances are that you are not as healthy as someone who resides in a more affluent neighborhood. Your address reflects your health – and more.
"There's a lot of information in an address," says Anthony B. Iton, MD, JD, MPH, senior vice president of healthy communities for The California Endowment. "It tells me about your income, your education, the health amenities you have access to and employment opportunities you can access. I can pretty much predict your life expectancy by where you live."
Iton has data to back his point. Mapping life expectancy in major metro areas by census track or ZIP code finds wide ranges even a few miles apart. In Philadelphia, for example, those in the city's center live 6.4 years less on average than neighbors 21 miles away in Chester County. Life expectancy in Oakland, Calif., is less than 74.3 years compared with more than 80 years in much of the rest of the county.
Assuring the highest level of health for all Americans is a goal that many experts believe makes both humanitarian and economic sense. But achieving what some call "health equity" requires tackling social determinants of health such as income, education, nutritious food, safe housing, affordable and reliable public transit, culturally sensitive health care professionals, health insurance, and clean water and air.
A Complex Problem
"That's why health equity is so elusive," says Len Nichols, PhD, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics at George Mason University. "You can't push one button. You have to think about the totality of the social fabric of the community."

Read more here.

No comments: