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Your ZIP code may determine your life span

Posted: 12:34 PM, Feb 09, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-09 17:53:29-05

Where you live can determine how long you live. 

The life expectancy in six Kansas City zip codes has caught the attention of health leaders. That’s because the life expectancy there keeps going down. 

Louis Stutts, 53, lives in 64132, the zip with the lowest average life expectancy at 67. For the first time in years, babies born today in that zip code have a life expectancy less than their parents when they were born. 

Those numbers are startling for Sarah Martin-Anderson with the Kansas City Health Department. 

“I get sad, and then I get very angry, and then we here get very motivated,” she said.

According to Martin-Anderson, there are six Kansas City zips where most people aren’t expected to live past 72.  

The zip codes are: 

  • 64132
  • 64130
  • 64128
  • 64109
  • 64127
  • 64126

“We have some prescription drug issues, suicides have increased, but people are dying of infectious diseases. People are still dying of flu, of pneumonia,” Martin-Anderson said.

Of course money and adequate healthcare are contributing factors, but Martin-Anderson said there are some things we don’t necessarily take into consideration. 

“Ninety percent of your life expectancy is predicted with things that have nothing to do with medical care and life insurance,” she said. 

Martin-Anderson said one way to add years onto your life is through civic engagement. Voting on things like more sidewalks, access to good roads, and good paying jobs.

“Those are the cornerstones of what makes a healthy individual,” she said.

The news isn’t all bad for Kansas City. In the Northland, the average life expectancy is more than 83 years. Health leaders are now analyzing that data, trying to find way to build up life expectancy. They admit there’s no quick fix, but with the right fix people in Stutts’s zip will live long and prosper.

 

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Kevin Holmes can be reached at  Kevin.Holmes@KSHB.com

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