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tv   Cityline  ABC  August 14, 2016 12:00pm-12:31pm EDT

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karen: today on "cityline," the average lifespan continues to rise in america and yet in boston, when neighborhoods life expectancy is not what it should be. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] karen: welcome to "cityline."in 45 years old. now in 2016, the average is 79, and health experts believe the number will climb. that is the good news. but where you live makes a big difference.
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reporter: how long do you hope to live? >> my mother lived to 90 so i'm hoping i will get to at least 90. >> i don't spend a lot of time thinking of how long i will live. >> 85, 80. reporter: 79 years is the average life expectancy in the united states, on an upward climb sincehe you might be around a little longer. the average lifespan is 81 years. we have long known that the rich out the the poor, 10-15 years longer, and the gap is widening according to the journal of the american medical association. where you live matters. if you are poor in new york city, you could live to your early 80's.
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for low-income folks in gary, indiana. still, gary residents are outliving low-income neighborhoods in the roxbury neighborhood. according to a recent study, the average life expectancy in roxbury is just under 59 years. even more shocking, just a few miles away, residents live to the early 90's. on more than 30-year difference. >> medical officer of commonwealth care alliance, nonprofit organization that provides primary and behavioral health care to patients on medicare and medicaid. she says while roxbury and back bay both have boston zip codes, they may as well be worlds apart. >> boston is home to some of the finest medical institutions in the world. it really is an incredible place to access very state-of-the-art
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be able to advocate for yourself and a navigate the complexity of the system and be able to access the best of what we have to offer, this is an incredible place to be. for folks who feel outside the system, who are unable to even negotiate transportation to get to the hospital, who struggled to understand the complexity of medical information provided to them, it becomes a daunting task to navigate the system. reporter: residents in the city. exceptional care and tremendous resources so close, yet so far out of reach. getting to the doctor was always a challenge for this mom of 4. so she didn't go. a friend suggested she try a nearby community health center. >> it was nice because it was close to where you can walk from
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it was nice because i did not have to drive or depend on anybody driving me. reporter: she finally had a place to go and learn about a medical problem she didn't know was there. >> i have a thyroid issue i am trying to keep under control. it is hard but i'm trying not to get to that point. it is hard, but it is getting better. reporter: she's getting medical help and she is lucky. many more in her neighborhood suffer chronic, even acute >> we have to continue to be angered by it, to be disturbed by it. if we ever get to the point where we become complacent and believe just because you are poor or live in a different neighborhood, you have a different set of expectations for your life, then we are really in trouble. karen: that report also found lower life expectancy rates in dorchester and south boston. while economic factors
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disparities play a role as well. , the universal hope of most parents is that their children grow up happy and healthy, but depending on your zip code, that is easier said than done. >> good morning, everybody! and welcome. it is so nice to see we have a our oldest is maybe 2? and patrick is brand-new, four weeks old. reporter: this social worker leads a weekly new moms group at the health and athletic complex as babies play and others share their concerns, challenges, hopes, and dreams. >> i really hope she lives in a world where it doesn't matter what you look like for the color of your skin or how much money you make.
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with respect. and like all of you, i want the world for them. i want her to be happy and healthy. >> is innocence and his sense of wonder for as long as humanly possible without unduly children him from the realities -- unduly sheltering him from the realities of the world. and that he is physically healthy, and that he eats vegetables would be lovely. >> years now. seen lots of different moms. and essentially the same things -- we want our children to grow, to thrive, to be happy, to be healthy. reporter: a sentiment echoed just about everywhere including disparate neighborhoods of back bay and rocks very. -- rocksteady. >> our parents are fierce advocates for kids. they are trying to get their kids into every program possible.
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the community health center. she points out the differences in economic and social conditions influence differences in life expectancies. >> people who live in the area we serve in our community, they have issues of joblessness, potential homelessness. much less homeownership. you could get kicked out of your apartment and anytime. so many environmental factors with access to parts and the ability to exercise and transportation issues on the cost of food. reporter: and food quality. in march this stop and shop on blue hill avenue closed briefly due to unsanitary conditions after mice were discovered near food in the store, stark contrast to the produce and quality food at this back bay grocer. additionally, jordan says racism and violence contribute to
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lifespan. >> the violence and trauma and stress that we see, and racism in and of itself has been proved to cause the cardiovascular events and diabetes. all this fact as we see in roxbury contribute to that. reporter: jordan says that improving like quality and longevity should be public policy issues so that everywhere, parents' dreams for children can become reality. >> trying to allocate resources to help and support those who are on the front lines and doing this work, community health centers in particular. i think it is something that is needed. we need to look at the availability of parks. so many different levels we need to address that are all possible. but also, it is empowering having these kinds of conversations to say what can we do to help immunity members be empowered and advocate for themselves. it is not a matter of feeling as
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and lift themselves out of the situation. but it is also making sure that the organizations that provide social services have the funding that they need to be able to continue doing the work of empowering families. karen: up next, how one woman is taking charge of herself and her
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karen: welcome back. when you look at the big picture, the systemic their to life expectancy are daunting but the small steps one can take make a difference. we continue this report. >> it is healthier, right? reporter: it is not easy to get 4 kids to eat healthy, but she
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vegetables, a lot of healthy stuff. less small portions. i knew i had a thyroid issue when i got pregnant with him but i was like, ok, whatever. i didn't know what it was then. i do now. i have one particular --he has l very native did not think -- rocks very native did not think much of her help until she got involved with the health center. >> it was a family orientated place, it was friendly, and still is, and it was close by. i could walk. reporter: she gives back by teaching families how to prepare
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families don't know what else to do with it. we try to teach them how to make meals and do food demos. it is fun. reporter: eating better is one of several ways the health center is working to narrow a 33-year cap in life expectancy between this area of the city and the back bay. a goal they believe is as close as thegh work cut out for us the hope is that people will have access to quality care. and we know that it is going to take a lot of work. and creativity. i think it is possible. reporter: patients can see a doctor in the morning, harvest vegetables midday at the community garden, and get a workout at the brand-new unaffordable fitness center.
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not a workouter. i did buy membership and didn't use it until i went down to see what the gym was like. it was awesome. the machines, the people, the staff down there is amazing. they encourage you and help you whatever you need. >> something like a fitness center, which is very affordable and close to where you live a the community garden that we have which is available to patients who live in the neighborhood. easily accessible. we have nutritionists who work with residents of the community and help them take care of the garden and harvest the vegetables and teach them how to cook them. available right here in the city. those kinds of things make a huge difference to people.
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a community to raise children. for kenya, the community is whittier street, and the lessons she takes from the kitchen to hers. >> i was a person who would eat whatever i want and no one to tell me anything. i would not eat diet food. now that i'm older and i have kids, i have to live for them because if i am not here, who will do it for me? something i take into consideration. karen: thanks to advancements in medicine and technology, you have a good chance of living longer than previous generations. how do you get the most out of life? advice from 2 different people with similar strategies. reporter: he works out nearly every day. at 84 years young, he has known plans to -- no plans to slow down. >> a plan to get to 102.
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has not been easy. he has seen friends die before him. >> plenty of people die young. reporter: and what he has described as racially charged violence. >> they say we going to kill -- excuse the expression -- kill you --to death. reporter: still, when he thinks back, he says itld for his family and i was an active member of the spencer house in roxbury. >>. expect you to be engaged. they expect you to continue to be involved in active life. it doesn't matter how old you are or how disabled you are. we take you where you are and start their. our elder people come when they suffer a loss, they substitute.
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continue to take on new learning experiences. a tremendous disparity in life expectancy, but we see people really blossom when you take the economic stress away, and they blossom in terms of engagement and also in terms of health. >> i have heard your reputation. reporter: jamie is president provide low-cost housing and health care to a mostly older population. >> the average rent at spencer house is $250 a month. that includes utilities. if you a lot more assistance than that including skilled nursing everyday, then we provide pedal day health programs for older people.
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one thing we learned is that you cannot categorize people as elder and know anything about them. i know that genetics are a factor, but i think it is a much smaller factor than the nurture factor. reporter: a few miles away in back bay, this 74-year-old is always looking for new experiences. she recently spenton >> part of what the book is about is learning how to respect and value the people you go to help. when we go and feel sorry for them and we insult them. when we go to learn about their culture and what we can learn from them and where we can share from the respective cultures, then we make music. reporter: appreciation for others and things in life have
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despite difficulties. >> right after i retired i broke both legs in beijing. friends kept saying, you are so positive. it is an easier way to go. i'm just grateful i was wired that way. i don't deserve any credit for it. i know people who cannot be that way when they are in pain. it seems to me it was preferable. reporter: living long means a positive outlook. regular gym theory. biggest fear is living too long. my hope is i will deal gracefully with whatever i'm dealt. reporter: she accepts the hand she is still. the opportunities and environments different for decades. they now share a philosophy of life. >> these are things i've had to do all my life.
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return, an insider's perspective on the facts and figures presented in
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like this together, hours of footage and information ends up on the cutting room floor. the producer for "a tale of two neighborhoods" which originally aired on "chronicle" joins us for what made it on the air -- >> hi, karen, thank you for
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place. >> first of all, the striking difference in life expectancy. i was expecting a child. in my zip code, average life expectancy of 59 years. i run down columbus avenue, they lived 30 years longer. why is that? the study found what i thought was different than other studies -- yes, income is part of it, but there are other factors we sometimes i to our environment, impact our health, and therefore impact our life expectancy. it is more than just mow, you have more money and this person has less money. there are other factors involved. karen: tell us about the factors that play into this zip code discrepancy. there is a lot you couldn't it into the program. >> one thing i thought was very dissing that we didn't get into
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one, if you don't have a lot of money, that is very stressful to begin with. two, your environment can contribute to your stress and therefore your health. if you don't know how long you will be in her apartment, you are worried about the landlord raising the rent. if you don't have the money to drive someplace you need to go to get an extra test your doctor says you need to get, or if you need to take three buses and walked in the snow with your child to get to office, that can be stressful, too. also, the stress related to violence, sometimes race related violence, racial profiling, that parents experience, that parents see their children experiencing. karen: that is so hard for people to grasp because you internalize that stress, particularly as it relates to racism or discrimination. >> and then actually the woman from the center, i don't leave
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she says the stress has been proven to lead into cardiovascular events. you internalize it. you internalize it, you keep trying to move forward. and then one day all the stress boils to something that can be catastrophic. karen: high blood pressure, heart disease. >> high blood pressure, which we know is very high in the african-american community. karen: tells about the people in the program and how they are doing today. >> health center, i didn't expect her to be the central person of the show, but she was just so -- first of all, you can't not like her. she is very likable. she is a single mom. i don't know if that was said. she is a single mom of 4. grew up in roxbury, now is in dorchester, and is on assistance. but while being on assistance,
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farmers just got these coupons to use at a farmers market. she went to the farmers market and liked it and she is learning about cooking in general. she had never eaten kale before, and she is using these different foods and cooking for her children and losing weight. her son, she mentioned is overweight, and he is losing weight. through learning these skills she goes and teachers of the people. karen: and that kind of she likes to do and it probably is a stress reducer. she enjoys it, she is relaxing. what about the people who live outside of these zip codes with low life expectancy? did you have conversations with them about this topic? and what was their reaction? >> this did make the cutting room floor, as you mentioned earlier, because people were
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expectancy is this, but your neighbors in roxbury or dorchester have this life expectancy. some people would get uncomfortable with that, thinking it is just in, or race. those things are important. there is also race-related violence and stressors that sometimes people are uncomfortable talking about. i was happy that our leaders in "c about doing the show because these are issues people are on comfortable talking about but they are impacting the lives of fellow neighbors in the city. karen: and we have to talk about it even though it is difficult. thanks for doing the show and asked for being here today. >> thanks for having me. karen: you can learn more about today's program by logging onto our "cityline" page at take care, everybody.
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