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Chicago's south side suffers most from unhealthy neighborhoods
Date:8/15/2011

Chicago have high rates of HIV infection, HIV test sites are more plentiful in the north, central and west regions.

"People in the south and southwest don't have the same opportunity to improve their health status," said Julie Yonek, research associate at the Center for Healthcare Equity at Northwestern's Feinberg School and lead author of the study. "They won't have the same opportunity to find out their HIV status, which would enable them to have access to early treatment and delays the progression of the disease."

"The issues and disparities outlined in this report are unacceptable, which is why we have to work together as a city to align our focus and resources to create a healthier city for all Chicagoans," said Chicago's Commissioner of Health Bechara Choucair, M.D. "Our new public health agenda, which launches tomorrow, will be Chicago's first comprehensive public health agenda and the most direct assault on racial and ethnic health disparities in the city of Chicago."

Chicago Lawn, for example, is a community with few resources to encourage physical activity and healthy eating, according to the study. Compared to the other three communities, the neighborhood has far fewer stores to buy fresh produce or places to be physically active. Many health experts point to the importance of the availability of supermarkets, playgrounds and other environmental factors as key factors in reducing childhood obesity rates.

"Residents' health suffers and health care costs rise when people live in unhealthy neighborhoods," said Romana Hasnain-Wynia, study coauthor and director of Northwestern's Center for Healthcare Equity. "Everyone in the city is affected when people can't easily find a doctor, go for a walk or buy a piece of fruit."

"You can have the most impact when you focus on the biggest problem," said Hasnain-Wynia, also an associate professor of medicine at the Feinberg School. "This information helps the city identify wh
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Contact: Marla Paul
Marla-Paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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