What Your Zip Code Says About Your Health


| 12/8/2016 11:07:00 AM


Tags: Walking, Jay Walljasper, Community,

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Photo by Fotolia/pootsonnaja

Tapping the power of place to keep us all healthy.

One number stands above all others as the best indicator of good health.  It’s not your blood pressure, cholesterol level, average daily calories or even the age at which your grandparents die.  It’s your zip code.

This fact has sent shockwaves across the county.  The chief aspiration of American democracy is that everyone deserves an equal opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Yet medical evidence shows that people living in disadvantaged neighborhoods face greater health and mortality risks.

“That should not be…. All communities should have a right to a safe, sustainable, healthy, just, walkable community,” says Robert Bullard, the father of the environmental justice movement and a professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University.

“Health disparities don’t just happen by accident,” he declared at the 2nd National Walking Summit, accentuating his point with a series of maps showing that high levels of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and obesity correlate strongly with low-income neighborhoods and those with a history of racial segregation.