WXXI AM News

Geography plays a big role in health, life expectancy

Feb 9, 2017

Credit Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency

A baby born today in Pittsford can expect to live up to nine years longer than a child who grows up in the 14608 zip code of the city of Rochester.

That's one of the findings of a health profile of Monroe County, based on data from various sources between 2010 and 2016. It was prepared by Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency.

FLHSA director of research and analytics Albert Blankley says the report highlights the fact that factors such as access to health food, a safe place to walk, and high smoking rates  add up to big differences in the overall health and well-being of people who live just miles apart.

"Even though you may be geographically in very similar locations, it doesn't necessary mean you're going to experience the same things; and therefore may wind up with very different health outcomes."

More than 33 percent of city of Rochester residents reported experiencing food insecurity, compared to 22 percent of Monroe County residents overall.

The report said in Monroe County, nearly 22 percent of residents drink one or more sugary beverages each day, 59.3 percent of adults are overweight or obese, and 30 percent have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death in Monroe County and Upstate New York.  Premature death from homicide is more common for African American and Latino residents than Caucasians.  Caucasians in Monroe County have a higher rate of premature death due to unintentional injury, including death from opiate overdoses.