Bexar County health assessment shows life expectancy differences between neighborhoods

Poorer living conditions may contribute to shorter life expectancy

SAN ANTONIO – Numbers out of the tri-annual Bexar County Community Health Needs Assessment Tuesday showed decades of difference in life expectancy, depending on where a person lives in the greater San Antonio area.

"Your zip code says a lot about what your life expectancy is going to be," said Elizabeth Lutz, Health Collaborative executive director.

The report county workers produced showed that those on the far Northwest Side live 20 years longer than people on the East Side, with a correlation between location, income, and health.

The assessment’s authors said people can see the variables creating the discrepancy.

At Hart Ranch on the far Northwest Side, there are better sidewalks and more people have cars. This makes it easier to access better food, healthcare and parks.

On the East Side at Commerce Street, there are poorer living conditions and less streetlights. It's easier to get liquor and chips than fresh fruit, according to Lutz.

Kayla Parks agrees with these statistics. For five years, she has lived on Spriggsdale Boulevard on the East Side. She said there's lots of crime, it takes 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive and the grocery store is a bus ride away.

"If you want to know, be honest, it’s a hell hole," Parks said. "We're really good people. We're just in a bad situation.

In a steep juxtaposition, in Shavano Park, retired Naval Officer Joe LaRocca calls his neighborhood "the greatest place in the world" and has lived in the area for two decades. The 83-year-old said the Police Department checks on his house when he's away and there's plenty of room for ten grandchildren to visit.

"I've been very blessed, no question about that," LaRocca said.

The Bexar County Health Collaborative will make a plan to improve the problem areas. Priorities in years past have been healthy eating and active living, family development, community safety, mental well-being and sexual health.

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