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Your socioeconomic background may determine your overall life expectancy

December 10, 2018 - 3:00 am
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KYW’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — They are called the social determinants of health, and the more we learn about our overall life expectancy, the more we realize that where we live, our socioeconomic status and our parents have a great deal to do with our overall health. 

A growing number of studies are looking at the social determinants and ways to improve care by reducing barriers. The latest information comes from a report that found ambulance transfer times are a disadvantage for those who live in the poorest neighborhoods. 

According to the report, it takes longer to get a patient who has suffered a cardiac arrest to the hospital from a poor neighborhood than a more affluent one. Additionally from the study, times were 10 percent higher in the poorest ZIP codes, taking an extra 3.8 minutes than from more affluent areas. 

One concern: A growing number of privately owned ambulance companies may be leading to a greater focus on profitability.