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Source: Duval County Health Department)
Our Eastside community and surrounding areas face significant health disparities compared to Duval County as a whole. Reasons behind the disparities are believed to be caused by limited access to affordable healthcare, healthy food and health and wellness resources.
The Eastside makes up part of Health Zone 1 (HZ1), a designation used by the Duval County Health Department to track health initiatives and outcomes. Health Zone 1 includes zip codes 32208, 32209, 32206, 32202, 32204, and 32254. According to the Duval County Health Department, HZ1 has higher levels of poverty, lower level of educational attainment, and higher rates of many conditions.
Statistics from the Health: Place Matters 2013 report by the Duval County Health Department show that residents in HZ 1 have the highest stroke mortality rate, highest heart disease mortality rate, and the highest infant mortality rate in the county compared to the other five Health Zones.
Also, residents in this Zone have a greater percentage of visits to hospital emergency rooms for many issues that can usually be managed through regular visits to a primary care physician. Data from the Duval County Health Department shows that HZ1 has the highest rate of preventable diabetes hospitalizations.
In addition, our Eastside residents experience asthma related deaths at a rate that are nearly double the average rate in Florida and significantly higher than the national average. The death rate for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is 30% higher in the Eastside than the average rate in Florida.
Information from the 2012 Jacksonville Integrated Planning Project (JIPP) shows that affordable primary care locations are all found outside of the residential areas and may not be easily accessible to those who don’t have their own vehicle.
Also the Jacksonville Health Assessment study (EPA, 2012) determined that many residents living in HZ1 “are not accessing basic preventative services, are traveling significant distances to get services, or are using emergency rooms in place of primary care services.” According to the report, barriers to healthcare access include financial, transportation, and manner of service delivery.
The JIPP report states that significant portions of HZ 1 are considered food deserts, according to the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Food deserts are defined as a low-income census tract where at least 33% of households are further than one mile from a grocery store. In a number of communities in this Zone, which includes Eastside, there are no full-service grocery stores within walking distance.