Place and Wellbeing (01:44)
Where you live and work determines your health and longevity. Factors include environmental toxins, social environment, presence of crime, and access to healthy food and exercise.
Low-Income Neighborhood Comparison Study (02:32)
Richmond, California and High Point in Seattle, Washington are working to improve conditions. Richmond resident and Laotian refugee Gwai Boonkeut, 49, has suffered a heart attack. His doctor suspects environmental conditions have contributed to his poor health.
Richmond Environmental Health Factors (02:05)
Petrochemical companies release pollutants into the neighborhood; tobacco, liquor and fast food are easily accessible. Residents have higher asthma, diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease rates and lower life expectancy. View a map comparing diseases in the county.
Barriers to Healthy Lifestyle (02:49)
Individual choice is often limited by environmental factors. Low-income neighborhoods lack access to fresh food. Laotian organizer Torm Nompraseurt explains that housing and household expenses are more in low-income neighborhoods—called the poverty tax. Boonkeut works two jobs.
Richmond's History of Inequality (02:28)
Ship production drew workers of all ethnicities. After the war, only white families could get government-backed mortgages in suburbs. African-Americans were left behind in neglected neighborhoods, joined by Latino and Southeast Asian immigrants in the 1980s. Learn about the disinvestment cycle.
Poverty and Chronic Stress (02:22)
Boonkeut tried to leave Richmond, but his son's substance abuse created financial troubles. He and his wife constantly worry. Learn about stress hormones and heart disease risk. Residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods accumulate negative stressors and lack coping resources.
Exposure to Violence (03:49)
Nompraseurt holds a Laotian community meeting to address health and environmental problems. Boonkeut's teenage daughter was mistakenly murdered by a gang. Witnessing violence can disrupt child development. Richmond children participate in a program creating hope, empowerment, and positive change.
High Point Story (02:09)
Seattle agencies and developers gave a low-income neighborhood some environmental health advantages. Hear how crime and dilapidated housing impacted resident health.
Rebuilding High Point (01:56)
The community worked with the Seattle Housing Authority and applied for federal grants to design a new mixed-income neighborhood focusing on environmental health. It features community gardens, a library, clinic, and spaces promoting social interaction.
Addressing Asthma (02:50)
The chronic condition impacts children in low-income neighborhoods and costs thousands in emergency room treatments. High Point designers built some homes with special ventilation features to alleviate symptoms. However, federal funding is being phased out.
Improving Community Wellbeing (01:17)
Environmental problems in low-income neighborhoods are complex, and require multiple strategies. Acknowledging the issue is the first step. Education, housing, and anti-violence policies improving quality of life will also improve health.
Credits: Place Matters (03:15)
Credits: Place Matters
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