Exploring health in your community

Social determinants of health (SDOH)—like access to and quality of housing, education, employment, environmental health, food access and more—play a large role in health outcomes. For instance, there is nearly a 23-year difference in life expectancy between two neighborhoods in Boston. There’s Back Bay, where life expectancy is 91.6 years and then part of Roxbury, where it’s 68.8 years.  

In our latest collaboration with the Boston Globe, we explore the profound link between the community you live in and your vitality by examining some of the health disparities across neighborhoods and how local organizations and individuals are doing their part to improve community health.  

While there are multiple SDOH that can be attributed to the discrepancy in life expectancy across Boston neighborhoods, access to nutritious food and green spaces are two that offer numerous health benefits. It was found that low-income neighborhoods have 19 percent less green space than high-income neighborhoods, and some neighborhoods including Roxbury and Dorchester have significant food access disparities. Through initiatives like the development of food forests and mobile food markets, the exploration with the Boston Globe showcases some of the programs and people working to address SDOH. 

The collaboration also highlights some of the ways New Englanders are focusing on mental wellness and finding community through activities like volunteering, recreational sports leagues, running clubs and even through pet ownership.  

Read on to discover the connection between community and health.  

Explore Health in Your Community