Research Question: How may a person’s ZIP code affect their health or treatment process, making it essential to choose the residency place, and what are the ways to eliminate the health paradigm of the ZIP code?
There is an extended number of various factors that can affect people’s health. Some of these factors, including the preferred food or lifestyle, can be chosen or changed by a person. However, others are not as evident, and it is typically much more challenging for an individual to take the initiative. For example, according to Holmes et al. (2018), different ZIP codes have significant effects on people’s health. Therefore, it is recommended for a person to analyze their place of residency and determine whether their chronic diseases or conditions may be caused by the area’s characteristics. The purpose of this paper is to answer the research question using the relevant literature.
Different Impacts of ZIP Codes on Population
Places of residency have direct influences on people’s health and treatment processes.
In some areas, residents cannot get proper medical help and diagnosis (Qwaider et al., 2021).
Compared to major cities, persons in smaller areas can be ignored by healthcare providers, and the ZIP codes of patients determine whether they deserve to be treated now, later, or never (Ritchie, 2013).
Polluted air and water, as well as other negative factors, can undermine people’s health in some areas (Seavey, 2008).
Moreover, for individuals with specific conditions, including cancer (Qwaider et al., 2021), diabetes, sepsis incidence (Goodwin et al., 2016), or cardiovascular disease (Obuobi et al., 2021), it may be dangerous to live in certain areas, where several factors may contribute to the further development of the diseases.
Certain places of residency can also provoke people to make the wrong choices about their health (Seavey, 2008). For example, some residents of disadvantaged areas often succumb to alcohol, tobacco, or drug addiction, which is also the effect of their ZIP code (Airaksinen et al., 2016).
Defeating the Effects of ZIP Codes
The necessity of eliminating the health paradigm of ZIP codes.
People in some areas should not face the barriers that prevent them from receiving high-quality care and medical support (Graham et al., 2015).
Life expectancy in different areas has to be equalized (Slade-Sawyer, 2014).
An individual’s longevity and health should be influenced by their lifestyle and genetics rather than the ZIP code (Graham, 2016; Slade-Sawyer, 2014).
The ways to defeat the impacts of ZIP codes.
Researchers should collect more data on the relationship between a person’s ZIP code and their health and access to treatment (Graham et al., 2015).
The database will allow health care workers to improve care coordination and get rid of redundancies in care.
A healthy lifestyle should be promoted among all people, especially those who live in areas that negatively affect their conditions.
Mobile technologies are believed to be of great help in educating societies (Graham et al., 2015).
Unfortunately, ZIP codes can have more severe effects on people’s health than genetics does. Since certain areas can contribute to the development or worsening of diseases, it is essential for individuals to be more mindful when choosing where to live. Further, a number of actions mentioned above should be taken in order to strengthen the health of the nation.
Airaksinen, J., Hakulinen, C., Pulkki-Råback, L., Lehtimäki, T., Raitakari, O. T., Keltikangas-Järvinen, L., & Jokela, M. (2016). Neighborhood effects in health behaviors: A test of social causation with repeat-measurement longitudinal data. The European Journal of Public Health, 26(3), 417-421.
Goodwin, A. J., Nadig, N. R., McElligott, J. T., Simpson, K. N., & Ford, D. W. (2016). Where you live matters: The impact of place of residence on severe sepsis incidence and mortality. Chest, 150(4), 829-836. Web.
Graham, G. N. (2016). Why your ZIP code matters more than your genetic code: Promoting healthy outcomes from mother to child. Breastfeeding Medicine: The Official Journal of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, 11, 396–397. Web.
Graham, G. N., Ostrowski, M. L., & Sabina, A. (2015). Defeating the ZIP code health paradigm: Data, technology, and collaboration are key. Health Affairs. Web.
Holmes, J. R., Tootoo, J. L., Chosy, E.J., Bowie, A.Y., & Starr, R. R. (2018). Examining variation in life expectancy estimates by ZIP code tabulation area (ZCTA) in Hawaii’s four main counties, 2008–2012. Preventing Chronic Disease, 15. Web.
Obuobi, S., Belardo, D., & Gulati, M. (2021). The precision of cardiovascular disease prevention begins with a ZIP code. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 3(6), 982–984.
Qwaider, Y. Z., Sell, N. M., Boudreau, C., Stafford, C. E., Ricciardi, R., Cauley, C. E., Bordeianou, L. G., Berger, D. L., Kunitake, H., & Goldstone, R. N. (2021). ZIP code-related income disparities in patients with colorectal cancer. The American Surgeon. Web.
Ritchie, D. (2013). Our ZIP code may be more important than our genetic code: Social determinants of health, law and policy. Rhode Island Medical Journal, 96(7), 14.
Seavey, J. W. (2008). How’s your health? What’s your ZIP code? Poverty and health. The University Dialogue, 42.
Slade-Sawyer, P. (2014). Is health determined by genetic code or ZIP code? Measuring the health of groups and improving population health. North Carolina Medical Journal, 75(6), 394-397. Web.