GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Where you live could determine how long you live.
A Cone Health doctor said people in three Greensboro zip codes 27405, 27406 and 27407- could die more than a decade earlier when compared to zip codes in other parts of town.
If you leave the hospital and go five miles up North Elm Street, you could live 15 years longer than someone who lives five miles in the other direction.
“You have quick access to cigarettes, tobacco of all other sorts,” said Ernestine Surgeon, who lives in east Greensboro. “You have very quick access to beer. You have even faster access to nothing but junk food. All of these things will shorten your days.”
Surgeon lives in the Claremont Courts Apartments. It’s in the 27405 zip code, which is one of three in the city where doctors are seeing the lowest life expectancy.
“If you live down around that zip code, your life expectancy is averagely about 70 years,” said Dr. Olu Jegede, the vice president for Cone Health’s Center for Health Equity.
Drive 15 minutes down the road into another neighborhood, and people there are expected to live to age 85.
“That has caught our attention, and we plan to work with our community organizations to close those gaps,” Dr. Jegede said.
Part of closing the gap means more access to health care. Greensboro City Councilwoman Goldie Wells said many of the people she represents don’t have the money, time or transportation to get to a doctor.
“A lot of people just deal with the ill,” she said. “They just deal with the pain, and that is not good.”
One of the ways Cone Health doctors are working to solve the problem is with mobile health units. In one year, healthcare workers have treated more than 1,000 people using the vehicles.
Along with care, people need healthy food options within walking distance.
“You are what you eat,” Surgeon said. “So being in a food desert was very difficult for me.”
Surgeon has lived with the lack of resources in east Greensboro for 15 years. She doesn’t want to lose 15 more because of her location.
“To think that all that time would be shortened because I live here…that is a very, very sad statistic,” she said.
Cone Health has three mobile units right now. One is used for screening people for high blood pressure. You can also get a mammogram. The next mobile medicine clinic is Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. at Freeman Mill Square in Greensboro.