Eugene residents react to life expectancy report

The "United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project" report shows even if you are in the same city just miles apart, opportunities for people to live healthy lives are not equal.

Posted: Sep. 13, 2018 6:55 PM
Updated: Sep. 13, 2018 6:56 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A recent national report reveals how long you live can depend on which neighborhood you live in.

The United States Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates Project (USALEEP) report shows that even if you are just miles apart in the same city, opportunities for people to live healthy lives are not equal.

KEZI 9 News spoke with Martin McKeown, who lives near Hendricks Park, the neighborhood with the longest life expectancy in Eugene at about 88 years.

McKeown's not surprised that his neighborhood is among the top considering who his neighbors are.

"Most of the people are or were professors, or lawyers or docs or other professionals who didn't ravish their bodies with hard labor," McKeown said.

That's not the case for Pamela Lehanseigel, who has lived in the Bethel area near Northwest Expressway for more than 20 years. The report shows it has the lowest life expectancy at 70.

"I know that this isn't considered an upscale neighborhood necessarily,” Lehanseigel said. “I lived here for 26 years. I find it to be just fine for me."

She said there are many exceptions to the report like her next-door neighbor who is in his 90s. At the end of the day, she said will continue to enjoy living in her neighborhood.

"I'm not going to get all depressed about it,” Lehanseigel said. “But my neighbors and I will ban together, and we'll find out what's going on and we'll support each other."

According to the report, the highest life expectancy in Oregon was just northwest of Portland at about 89. The lowest was in central Medford at about 66.

USALEEP is a joint effort of the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report is the first step toward updating Oregon's State Health Improvement Plan that will guide state and local public health interventions. It took into consideration factors such as housing affordability, food insecurity and educational outcomes. 

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