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How Long Louisvillians Live Depends on Their Neighborhood, Education, Study Says

Louisvillians' neighborhood and education level have a great effect on how long they'll live, said a new study released Thursday morning.The Building a Healthier Louisville study from the Greater Louisville Project is meant to compare where the city's health stands to peer cities. (Louisville doesn't do well—more on that later.)But the study points to a wide disparity in life expectancy across Metro Louisville. Here's a breakdown: 83-Year Life Expectancy Northeast Louisville St. Matthews Southeast Louisville Jeffersontown Floyd's Fork 78-Year Life Expectancy Pleasure Ridge Park Valley Station South Louisville Butchertown Clifton Crescent Hill Highlands Buechel Newburg Indian Trail Highview Okolona Fern Creek 74-Year Life Expectancy Shively Fairdale Chickasaw Shawnee Downtown Old Louisville Germantown 70-Year Life Expectancy Shelby Park Smoketown Phoenix Hill South Central Louisville Portland Russell California-Parkland Algonquin Park Hill Park DuvalleSocio-economic factors play a role, in Louisville's health, said Christen Boone, director of the Greater Louisville Project.Those factors include education, health behavior (smoking, for example), availability of clinical care and the environment play a role, in that order, she said.To chance the situation, those issues will have to be addressed."We really want this report to be a tool to really work toward a more collaborative, shared agenda toward health," Boone said, meaning Louisville government agencies and non-government organizations.Louisville ranks 10th in general health out of 15 peer cities. Here's that ranking:

  1. Raleigh
  2. Omaha
  3. Charlotte
  4. Greensboro
  5. Nashville
  6. Columbus
  7. Cincinnati
  8. Richmond
  9. Kansas City
  10. Louisville
  11. Dayton
  12. Indianapolis
  13. Jacksonville
  14. Memphis 
  15. Birmingham

Boone called the ranking "alarming."The Louisville information comes from the state's 2013 County Health Rankings.People with a college education live, on average, six years more than people who don't, the study said.The purpose of the study was to "explore the connection between health and competitiveness of the city," Boone said.The issue concerns more than Louisville's health. Boone said the city's economic competitiveness relies largely on its health, and a healthier Louisville means a more economic development.The study notes that Louisville has initiatives underway that can address the city's health issues, including Mayor Greg Fischer's Healthy Hometown and programs from Jefferson County Public Schools."But they are not enough," the study said. "We must develop a shared community-wide health agenda and pursue 'health in all policies,' in public policy, at the workplace, at the neighborhood level and in our schools."We must consider health implications as we plan infrastructure investments and programs."In a statement, Mayor Greg Fischer said "improve health is everyone's business, and there is more to health than healthcare."Fischer notes several initiatives aimed at improving Louisville's health, including Health Hometown, voluntary smoke-free playgrounds at three metro parks, more bike lanes and the Healthy Corner Stores program with the YMCA. “We’re doing some great work in our quest to become one of the healthiest cities in the country,” Fischer said in the statement. “We know there is much work to be done and I challenge the entire community to join us in this effort."(Image via Shutterstock)

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

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