By Tori Mason
DENVER (CBS4)– Life expectancy among Coloradans ranges from about 67 years old to 90 years old. A difference of more than two decades that could dramatically change the course of one’s life.
Data presented by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment shows people living just a few blocks from each other in downtown Denver have different opportunities for a long life.
For example, Denver’s Jefferson Park neighborhood has an average life expectancy of about 81 years. Just a few miles north in the Highlands, that drops to 75 years.
This data is meant to help remove barriers that could be standing in the way of an area’s health and opportunity.
It allows community leaders to look at factors that might be influencing differences in longevity, like access to health care, affordable housing, education and transportation.
This data will help with city budgeting, when officials have to decide which neighborhoods require the most investment.
“Looking at things like mobility: Does everyone have equal access to a car to get healthy food at the grocery store? Do they have access to adequate transportation so they can get to their jobs? Do they have affordable housing so that they’re not spending all of their money on rent? Some of those initiatives that the City and County of Denver and Mayor Hancock are taking the lead on are going to be really critical in how we invest in the communities that need more support to lead healthier lives,” Michele Shimomura, Public Health Manager with Denver Public Health & Environment.
Public health agencies and hospitals can also incorporate this information in their community health assessments to identify areas most in need.
The study also includes maps describing variations in factors that affect health, such as poverty, education, disability, chronic disease and acute health events.