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ZIP code trumps genetic code

Original post made on Sep 1, 2011

The message of a city- and county-sponsored event at Google this week was quite clear: where you live plays a larger role in your health than you might think.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 1, 2011, 10:34 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by Doh
a resident of Willowgate
on Sep 1, 2011 at 11:56 am

What? They're closing Sizzler? (hate when I find out things like this)

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Posted by Oh No
a resident of another community
on Sep 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

This is dangerous territory. The City Council can work to educate the public all they want regarding healthy living and eating. But they should not be pushing their own agenda's on our lifestyle by holding local businesses hostage with planning and land use procedures. If they want to deny Chick-fil-A because of the healthiness of their food, then draft a law and let the public vote on it. Right now they're just legislating from the bench and playing favorites based on their mood.

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Posted by Bruce Karney
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

"Rural areas such as Fresno?" Last I looked it was a very large urban area. (Low density urban, like San Jose, not high density urban like S.F., or course.)

I believe wealth and whether or not one has had medical insurance are a much better indicator of longevity. If you're poor and don't have medical insurance moving from East Palo Alto to Mountain View is not going to help you much.

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Posted by HM
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Then why is it that "the country's oldest person" usually turns out to be some old farmer from some out of the way hollow in Tennessee who lives on corn liquor and cigars and has never seen a hospital?
Come on. It's 95% in the genes. And money can help if the genes are lacking. But you're not going to pull someone who's obese and living in poverty and make them all good and well by moving them to Atherton.
Iton's a "Public Health official." Who's he gonna agree with anyway?
It's a VERY complex issue and you're fool to look at two or three criteria and come up with an answer.

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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Quoting from the article: "Iton noted that healthier communities tend to be densely populated, in order to economically support the grocery stores and other services that would be located nearby."

In its planning for the new general plan, the community made two key points: they want walkable neighborhoods including downtown, and they want existing large residential neighborhoods composed mainly of single-family, resident-owned homes to be left alone.

Iton's point is valid, however. Walkable neighborhoods will have to be densely populated if they are "to economically support the grocery stores and other services" they want. The existing large residential neighborhoods are walkable only in the sense that it's pleasant to take a walk around the neighborhood, not in the sense of everyone being within walking distance of the stores.

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Posted by NeHi
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 1, 2011 at 4:54 pm

It's good to see the diverse discussions this subject is bringing up; might even develop into a plan.

We moved to Mtn. View over 50 years ago and, if you don't count convenience or specialty stores, there were more food markets [not all supermarkets] than there now. And think of the poor Palo Altans who have to put up with convenience stores if they don't want to shop at Mollie Stone's or Whole Foods [I've not taken a survey]. My friends in Palo Alto shop in Mtn. View.

Come to think of it, we are here in the Cuesta Park area in walking distance of two large supermarkets and three "speciality stores. Not bad! Wonder how the rest of the city fares??

We are retired and rarely use fast food. And, we have the farmer's market! Maybe that is why we have been here 50 years. Lumber yards are a different subject.....

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Posted by andrea gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Sep 2, 2011 at 10:02 am

andrea gemmet is a registered user.

This comment has been moved from a duplicate thread, which has now been closed:

Posted by MV Resident, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, 18 hours ago

ZIP code correlates highly to income. And income correlates highly to health and life expectancy.

But correlation does not imply causation. ZIP codes that contain a lot of hospitals probably show a higher mortality rate. Was this caused by their ZIP code? Probably not.

Even the correlation between income and health is not necessary causal. Having more money may give you access to better health care. But it also may be a result of a more conscience person, who is more likely to take care of their health and not engage in activities that correlate to earlier death.

This whole notion that ZIP codes which have more walkable schools and trails causes better health is not very well based. Could it simply be that ZIP codes with more walkable schools and trails are higher income, and income correlates to health?

Regardless, people will write whatever sounds good and serves the purpose at hand.

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Posted by Ho Ho Ho
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 2, 2011 at 2:52 pm

@OhNo "If they want to deny Chick-fil-A because of the healthiness of their food, then draft a law and let the public vote on it. Right now they're just legislating from the bench and playing favorites based on their mood."

I think that you're confused about how a representative democracy/republic works. Unless you live in New England where pure democracies abound at the local level, you elect people who create laws. The people don't vote directly on the many proposed laws directly. If you like Chick-fil-A then elect people who like Chick-fil-A. If you don't then don't. If you don't like a law then elect new people who vote to repeal it.

Also, legistators don't legislate from the bench. By definition they are allowed to (and required to) legislate. Legislating from the bench is a term applied to the judiciary which the City Council is not.

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