As we continue the rollout of our Health Connections Initiative, you will begin to appreciate one of the central points which the KRCB programming, local and national, will seek to drive home: The factors influencing your health are far deeper than the number of hospitals in your town or specialists in your county. Often called the “social determinants of health,” these factors don’t automatically leap to our lips as we work to improve the health of our community. They should.
For example, high school graduation rates correlate very strongly with life expectancy. Poverty, not surprisingly, is also strongly correlated. Dr. Anthony Iton of the California Endowment famously says that we can predict the length of your life by your zip code. Equally unsurprising, nutrition and exercise are central. Although these are often viewed as individual decisions, as we study the social determinants of health, we come to understand that social and public policy have a huge influence on what choices an individual has, or doesn’t have, to choose a healthy diet or to seek out a space for safe exercise.
KRCB will be pushing this conversation because we all need to understand what exactly must change if we are truly and fundamentally going to improve the health of all of us. Keep watching and keep thinking.