The places where people live and work can have significant impacts on healthcare access, health behavior, health disparities, and health outcomes.
Access to healthy food allows SouthCoast residents to eat in a way that reduces the risk of outcomes like diabetes and heart disease. This indicator is measured by the density of grocery stores, the density of fast food establishments, and the region’s neighborhoods that are classified as food deserts because most of their residents live more than 0.5 miles from a grocery store.
Access to physical fitness amenities
Regular exercise is essential to good health outcomes, but this can be limited by access to walkable neighborhoods and by facilities at which exercise can take place.
A location’s Walk Score is based on the following scale:
- 90-100: “Walker’s Paradise” – Daily errands do not require a car
- 70-89: “Very walkable” – Most errands can be accomplished on foot
- 50-69: “Somewhat walkable” – Some amenities within walking distance
- 25-49: “Car-dependent” – A few amenities within walking distance
- 0-24: “Car-dependent” – Almost all errands require a car
Air quality is a function of geography that affects a number of health outcomes, including but not limited to respiratory health.
The SouthCoast is home to a number of sites that contain and/or generate contaminants that can negatively affect residents’ health.
The best source of that data is the Environmental Protection Agency, through which you can generate a number of reports on contaminated sites in your community. For data specific to Fall River and New Bedford, visit the UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center’s SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project.