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Matthew Kelly


Introduction:Health issues that we see in modern American are often contributed to lack of exercise or genetics. However, many studies have shown that there are other socioeconomic factors that may be responsible for health issues such as diabetes, fetal death, obesity, cancer, stroke, depression and low birth rate (Link et al. 1995). Health and education are related, as outlined by Ross and Wu (1995), education is associated with health in three categories: work and economic conditions, socio-psychological resources and healthy lifestyles, because well-educated people have higher incomes in a full-time job with fulfilling work, and do things in moderation. Income has been shown many times to have an effect on one’s health as well. The higher one’s income is, the healthier that individual will be (Table 1). Fast food has been linked to diabetes and other diseases. A study by Li et al. (2009) found “Significant associations…between resident-level individual characteristics and the likelihood of being obese (BMI ≥ 30) for neighborhoods with a high-density of fast food restaurants in comparison with those with a low density”. This project attempts to use physical activity as one indicator of an area’s access to healthy options and by using the fast food restaurants as an unhealthy indicator. Physical activity clearly has an effect on one’s health as well. Access to areas that allow for activity, however, is not always available in some areas. Layers included in this project that are used as physical activity indicators include bike lanes and parks. The purpose of this study is to compare the ‘healthiness’ of Pierce and King counties and to look for differences between the two by using ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ indicators.

Determining Health in the Puget Sound Region: Using Indicators and Demographics