Study looks at life expectancy in Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. - Depending on what Spokane neighborhood you live in your life expectancy could be shorter.

That's one of the realities of The Spokane Regional Health District's Health Inequities study that you can be a part of.

Eating an apple a day is a good start to improving your health but what if you didn't go to college? Or were born into poverty? Race also plays a part in how long you live; Native Americans die, on average, 13-years earlier than white Americans.

Study looks at life expectancy in Spokane

"A lot of people think it's mostly about personal decisions, decisions that individuals make as it pertains to what foods they eat or exercising or not," Dr. Joel McCullough said.

Dr. McCullough with the Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) says life expectancy and overall health is also about four main social factors. These factors are ones you are born into and ones that outside forces, like political policy, can keep you from escaping.

  1. Race

  2. Your neighborhood

  3. Education – children born to parents without a high school education are 23-percent more likely to live in poverty.

  4. Income – between 2000 and 2008 the poor earned $1,000 less while the wealthy grew their income by $12,000.

"If you have lower levels of education you're generally less healthy, if you have less income you're generally less healthy," Dr. McCullough said.

That's why the SRHD is inviting everyone in the Spokane area to participate in what they call Health Inequity Dialogues. It's a place to learn about Spokane's health landscape and a place to share your experience growing up here and what that means for your health.

"We're hoping this will raise awareness in the community and involve multiple community partners and individuals, too, to help improve the health of the community," Dr. McCullough said.

The final meeting is Wednesday at the CenterPlace at Mirabeau Point Park from 7 a.m. To 9 a.m.