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New Online Tool Demonstrates Differences in Health across NKY Neighborhoods

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Your ZIP code may have a larger impact on your health than your genetic code. As part of an analysis of health status across Northern Kentucky communities, the Northern Kentucky Health Department examined a variety of factors that can impact health, including levels of education and income. The results show significant differences in communities, with life expectancy in certain areas almost 10 years higher than others.

The analysis is part of a larger project to examine health equity in Northern Kentucky.

“We know that health is not evenly distributed throughout Northern Kentucky,” said Lynne M. Saddler, MD, MPH, District Director of Health. “Every person in Northern Kentucky should have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible regardless of who they are or where they live, work, go to school or play. These reports will provide the Health Department and other community partners with the data to hone in on particular factors that influence health in our communities.”

The health equity reports are available on the Health Department’s website at http://www.nkyhealth.org/Health-Equity.aspx.

To analyze health at a more granular level, Health Department staff divided its four Northern Kentucky counties (Boone, Campbell, Grant and Kenton) into 17 ZIP code-based regions to provide a large enough sample with which to compare data. If more than one ZIP code was combined to form a region, the communities share both a border and some similar characteristics.

Data on health status, life expectancy, income and education levels, as well as the community’s priority health outcomes of obesity, substance use disorders and heart disease were mapped by these regions. Staff can then better understand the distribution of health problems in Northern Kentucky, which helps in working with community partners and planning programs and services.

Some key data points from the health equity, health status and life expectancy maps:

The health equity data is presented in an interactive story map format, and brings Northern Kentucky-specific information from a variety of state and national data sources into one central location. The online format is flexible, too, allowing users to quickly view overall data, or to dig deeper and look at specific areas of Northern Kentucky.

“Communities across the United States are looking at disparities in health and these story maps are helping us do that here in Northern Kentucky,” said Saddler. “As we work with our community partners to change the factors that impact health, we will use these story maps to track Northern Kentucky’s progress toward becoming the healthiest region in the nation – for all residents.”  

For more information about health equity and to view the reports, visit http://www.nkyhealth.org/Health-Equity.aspx or call the Health Department at 859.341.4264.

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Media representatives should contact Emily Gresham Wherle at 859.344.5470 or Emily.Gresham-Wherle@nkyhealth.org, about any request or information before calling any other Health Department employee. Your calls and requests will be handled expediently with your deadlines in mind. Thank you for your interest and support in educating the community about public health issues.

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