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Health & Nutrition

Rich People Are Living A Lot Longer Than Poor People In LA County.

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 9:44 AM

click to enlarge 250px_Down_and_out_on_New_York_pier.gif

This seems like a good dose of outrage with your morning coffee.

Via LA Observed, a new report from the county's public health department shows wide disparities in life expectancies based on whether you live in a rich as opposed to a poorer part of the county. Guess which people are living longer? And when we say longer, we mean a lot longer.

If you reside in the Westmont unincorporated area of south L.A., you live to be 72, but if you live in LaCanada Flintridge, you live to be nearly 88.

click to enlarge L.A. COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
  • L.A. County Public Health

Maybe this kind of thing is no longer surprising, so no one gets worked up over it. But the fact is, this trend of the richest among us living considerably longer than the poor is just that, a trend. It wasn't always thus, or at least, it wasn't always this bad.

A 2008 Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that as income polarization has intensified since 1980, so have life expectancy disparities among socio-economic groups.

As the county report, notes, the reasons are fairly well known by now. Poorer people have less access to health care. They have less access to "health promoting activities" like recreation facilities or good grocery stores -- they live "food deserts." And, they have fewer resources to fall back on when crisis occurs. The report also notes some evidence that poorer people are more likely to live in areas where there's the presence of environmental toxins.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

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