I just read an interesting report on the importance of geographic location on life expectancy. As a past Public Health Nurse I can’t say I was totally surprised. What did surprise me was the notion that our social environment can outweigh our genetic makeup when it comes to health.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a website you might find interesting. The website explains the effect of our physical surroundings on health and life expectancy. I found a link to this map of one Texas city, El Paso.
Visit this site and check to see how your county’s health ranks among Texas counties.
These ideas are influencing our research on Maternal Mortality at Texas Woman’s University. We are mapping rates of maternal risk and maternal death as well as the locations of maternal health resources. We are in the process of obtaining birth records at the zip code level. However, death records are only available at the city level. As you can see from the example of El Paso, even within a single city there can be wide variation in health and longevity related to location.