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The Relationship Between Place & Health: Where you live influences how long you'll live

19 Oct 2018 9:49 AM | Deleted user

A new tool from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation lets you search for your life expectancy – by ZIP code.

Improving health and longevity in communities starts with ensuring access to healthy food, good schools, quality housing, and jobs that provide the necessary resources to care for ourselves and our families. These are the things that prevent us from getting sick in the first place. However, these conditions are hardly consistent across states, cities, or even from block to block. This new data from the National Center for Health Statistics reveals differences in life expectancy down to the census tract level, showing U.S. counties can vary in life expectancy by as much as twenty years. There is a fourteen-year variance across central Indiana counties alone. More and more, the community development and public health fields are working together to understand just how great an impact the place we live can have on our health.

In Indianapolis, Eli Lilly and Company has launched a community-based pilot program in partnership with the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Eskenazi Health, LISC Indianapolis, and the Marion County Public Health Department to help address the high incidence of diabetes in three local neighborhoods: the Northeast Neighborhoods, Northwest Neighborhood, and Near Westside Neighborhood. These communities were selected based on their high prevalence of diabetes (approximately 10,000 people across the three neighborhoods), socio-economic factors, and highly engaged community members and organizations. The pilot will deploy newly hired community health care workers to help identify people with diabetes and connect them with quality care. Community members will also be involved, helping to identify and propose solutions for cultural, social, environmental, economic, and policy barriers that increase the risk for diabetes, such as the lack of healthy food options and public spaces for exercise.

These cross-sector, community-focused partnerships for health are becoming more commonplace in the community development field as we continue to learn about the relationship between health and where you live. Check out the resources below to learn more on this topic.

Read about another partnership between community development and health systems

National example of programming aimed at improving health by aligning housing and health systems

Access resources from the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Summit: Intersection between Community Health and Community Development

Check out this map showing the change in U.S. life expectancies by county over time

View a variety of health data sources


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