What is health equity?
Much of what impacts a person’s health starts where he/she lives, learns, works and plays. Factors that impact health include:
- Transportation availability and accessibility
- Access to healthy foods
- Other social factors
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines health equity as the “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.”
Basically, health equity is the opportunity for every individual to attain his/her full health potential.
The California Endowment produced a brief video, “A Tale of Two Zip Codes,” that illustrates the concept of health equity and factors that impact opportunities for good health.
Health equity map series
To better understand the health of the Northern Kentucky region, the Health Department examined a variety of factors that can impact health, including income and education.
Data analysis was also done around the three priority health outcomes (obesity, substance use disorders and heart disease) that the Northern Kentucky community identified in the Community Health Assessment for Northern Kentucky 2016 and the Community Health Improvement Plan for Northern Kentucky 2016-2020.
Additional story maps will be added as other data are received and analyzed.
- Income, Education and Life Expectancy
- Health Status, including health care coverage, special equipment, and limited activity due to health issues
- Priority Health Outcome: Obesity, including diabetes and physical activity
- Priority Health Outcome: Substance Use Disorders, including smoking, depression, binge drinking and opioid addiction
- Priority Health Outcome: Heart Disease, including heart attack, angina, stroke, cholesterol and high blood pressure
- Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods, including farmers’ markets, active transportation, and healthy housing
- Maternal and Infant Health, including infant mortality, breastfeeding, low birth weight, teen births and smoking during pregnancy
How can we improve health equity and make Northern Kentucky healthier?
Much of our health starts where we live, learn, work and play. Because so many factors influence a person’s health, it is important to build a culture of health in Northern Kentucky where the healthy choice is the easy choice for everyone.
No single person or group can tackle this problem alone. It will take residents, businesses, government, education, and organizations representing many interests working together to create and maintain opportunities to live as healthy a life as possible.
Some possible initiatives to improve health might include:
- Increasing access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods
- Creating and maintaining safe neighborhoods
- Expanding early education opportunities
- Improving transportation options
- Encouraging more options for livable wage jobs
- Much more