Reporter Nichole Manna looked into the possible factors behind why residents in Fort Worth’s 76104 ZIP code have the lowest life expectancy of anyone in the state for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She told Texas Standard it is an historically Black area with neighborhoods that have been neglected for years.
“A lot of the people living there live below the poverty line, and a lot of the others are just getting by,” Manna said.
How “social determinants” influence a person’s health and life expectancy:
“So I talked to a lot of public health experts who, you know, all said that poverty plays a huge role in your health. And it really comes down to what is called the social determinants of health. We’re talking about income, access to healthy foods, insurance, safe places to exercise, educational opportunities, racial segregation, unemployment, safe housing.”
Why proximity to a hospital doesn’t necessarily mean a neighborhood will be healthier:
“The hospital district is right there. And a lot of these hospitals have programs and opportunities to help people without insurance or to help low income people. But there seems to be this kind of disconnect between the hospitals and the people living there. Five thousand people that live in that area don’t have insurance.”
How common chronic diseases have hit the area harder than most:
“There’s a lot of varying issues. But the number one cause of death was natural causes, with heart disease being the number one source of death. So people there are dying from the nation’s number one killer, but they’re dying twelve years before the national average.”
What’s being done to improve health and life expectancy in 76104:
“It’s hard to say. I hope to follow up with our community leaders, especially to see their reaction, to see what they want to do. The city is trying to redevelop the Evans and Rosedale corridor of 76104 and so far nothing has happened. But from what I’ve heard, they are in the final steps of figuring out the redevelopment plan.”