Poverty in the United States
In Unhealthy Cities: Poverty, Race, and Place in America , Fitzpatrick and co-author Mark LaGory of the University of Alabama at Birmingham drew from the social sciences and public health fields to examine the role that place and policy play in the health of Americans, particularly for those people living in high-poverty urban neighborhoods.
In urban areas, a single zip code digit can make a big difference in life expectancy. More than 9 million people live in more than 3, high-poverty neighborhoods in the United States.
For example, over the years studies have established a relationship between a concentration of fast-food restaurants in poor, predominantly minority neighborhoods and health problems among the residents of those neighborhoods. These same neighborhoods may not have even a single grocery store offering fresh, nutritious food or safe places to exercise. Fitzpatrick cited a simple but critical element that affects the health of people in a community: the square footage of green versus concrete in the neighborhood.
The green he is talking about can be a safe place to walk and a place where children can play games or an urban community garden that can feed hundreds of families.
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As one effective response, the researchers use the example of a collaborative program in the Los Angeles School District, which serves more than , students, two-thirds of whom are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Working with teachers, health professionals, parents and students, the district cleared schools of unhealthy foods and improved the nutritional value and variety of food in the school meals.
The program led to improved health systemwide, with fewer health problems reported to school nurses at all grade levels and more participation in physical education. The schools continue to play a role in the health of students and their communities by targeting problems such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition.
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The purpose of this book is to show the important role that space and place plays in the health of urban residents, particularly those living in high poverty ghettos. Both authors are committed to raising awareness of structural factors that promote poverty and injustice in a society that proclaims its commitment to equality of opportunity.
Our health is often dramatically affected by where we live; some parts of the city seem to be designed to make people sick. The book is intended for students and professionals in urban sociology, medical sociology, public health, and community planning.
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Table of Contents 1. The Importance of Place 2. Humans as Spatial Animals 3. The Ecology of Everyday Urban Life 4.
Unhealthy Cities: Poverty, Race, and Place in America / Edition 2
The Sociology of Health 5. Cities as Mosaics of Risk and Protection 6.
Health Risks among Special Populations in the City 7. Promoting Health.