Your zip code is a big prediction of your overall health. Community provided health care like Chicago’s Cook County Central Campus Health Center brings resources to areas in need. Image © Gensler
Your biggest health predictor isn’t your cholesterol level, your blood pressure or your age; it’s your ZIP code. That’s what David B. Nash, M.D., dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, asserted during his presentation at the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress on Healthcare Leadership. He noted, “The most important five-digit number I need to predict your health status and well-being is your ZIP code.” As Nash suggests, geography is a big factor impacting an individual’s overall health—from access to healthcare and information to quality of life, and even life expectancy.