EILI WRIGHT, Health & Poverty Fellow – Based on an unexpected 2018 study called the US Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project, the Newark Advocate found that the eight mile difference between Granville and Newark reduced a person’s life expectancy by 15 Years.
Granville, Ohio has the highest life expectancy in Licking County, but Newark, Ohio has the lowest. If you were born in Granville you are likely to be around 84.3 years old, while the Newark life expectancy is only 69.4 years.
Both in the 2018 newspaper article and in the eyes of others coexisting between Granville and Newark Ohio, a large portion of the life expectancy gap exists between Newark and Granville due to the different social determinants of health.
According to 2010 census data, the median income per household in Granville, Ohio is $ 118,375. The median household income for Newark is only $ 48,884. Similar to the median life expectancy of Newark, the median household income of Newark is very low compared to Granville. While these things may seem outwardly incoherent, there are numerous studies that focus solely on the effects of income inequality on mortality rates.
Based on data from a 2015 study by Kate E. Pickett and Richard G. Wilkinson, there are up to 300 studies examining how economic inequality affects death rates. After reviewing a large sample of these studies, Pickett and Wilkison found that correlation in this set implies causality and that the two are linked indefinitely.
For example, consider one of the social determinants of health: healthy eating. Groceries cost money, especially healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. If a family of four went to the grocery store for a week to buy groceries, a pound of apples would cost anywhere from $ 2 to $ 4, depending on the prices quoted in the grocery store. At McDonald’s, however, a hamburger costs only $ 2.49.
To put this in perspective, a hamburger has at least 250 calories while an apple only has 95 calories. If you look at the numbers, a hamburger would be more likely to keep a young child satisfied while an apple might not. A 2015 Nutritional Quality Study of Americans by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Status: A Systematic Review That Focused Specifically on “Spending Among SNAP Participants Versus Income Eligible and Higher Income Non-Participants.” This study found that SNAP participants were “more likely to afford high-calorie and unhealthy foods than nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Another obstacle to finding foods for healthy eating is the accessibility of a grocery store at a distance that a person can get. Together, the removal and affordability of healthy foods create a socio-economic barrier for people living in low-income barriers known as the “food wasteland.” The official definition of a food desert is “an urban area where it is difficult to buy affordable or good quality fresh food”.
Licking County’s Department of Health information officer Olivia Biggs said there were food deserts in Newark’s pockets. Unlike Granville, where Ross’ IGA is just a twenty minute sidewalk down the street, Biggs said, “We noticed that there is a gas station that most people go to to get their groceries, so of course it will be give sacks of french fries, canned food and very faulty items. ”
To address this issue, Licking County’s Health Department has created several programs to combat the food wasteland problem. They reportedly communicated with more local mom and pop shops and encouraged them to consume more fruits and vegetables. This has been a successful program in their efforts to bring healthier foods to the people living in downtown Newark.
Another big step the Department of Health has taken, Biggs says, is to work with the canal market. By communicating with the marketplace, the Department of Health succeeded in authorizing SNAP recipient programs to use their nutritional supplemental benefits as a means of payment in the marketplace.
However, despite the success they have had, Biggs claims that there are still some obstacles. “Some of these people don’t have transportation, so they go. We therefore see it as an initiative for health in all areas, ”she said. “We see that there are no zebra crossings for people to cross the street with their young children while trying to get healthy food. That is why the health department advocates creating zebra crossings that are to be installed at the farmers’ market.
“Health is just so broad that we really need to look at it broadly in order to see and understand the barriers that keep people from making healthy choices.”
While their success with the Farmers’ Market has benefited the Health Department and the people of Newark at large, the market is only open June through September, and during that time it is only open for three hours on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Jeremy Blake, a Newark councilor representing the South Side, is grateful for the programs the health department has put through, but continues to claim that more needs to be done. “We’re talking about people who go to dollar stores and these low-cost grocery stores to get their products, so they’re probably getting canned food, probably, you know, quick, easy meals, frozen foods. But if you’re used to simply opening a can or bag of frozen food and throwing it on the stove, now you’re suddenly giving someone fresh produce. Do you know how to prepare this? I think there is a learning curve when people go through a farmer’s market experience and know like, “What am I buying?”
In 2019, researchers took into account the same factors in a study titled The Changing Landscape of Food Deserts, primarily being able to afford safe and quality food, but also having suitable home appliances and a kitchen to prepare the food Food.
As Biggs noted, health is a big issue. The numbers from the U.S. Small Area Life Expectancy Estimation Project and the $ 80,000 median household income gap between Newark and Granville are not only mutually reinforcing, but also the 300 studies that have been conducted on whether income inequality is increasing higher death rates result or not The United States.
Next week’s article will focus on members of the community who are more focused on a grassroots approach and what Denison students can do to get more involved.