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Williamsbridge Community’s Windshield Survey Essay

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Updated: May 27th, 2021

Introduction

The community of the Bronx is highly diverse, and many of the local neighborhoods have similar strengths and weaknesses related to health and social factors. The region of Williamsbridge is not an exception – this neighborhood was historically known as a settling place of Jewish and Italian immigrants, but now it has a dominant African American population (“City living,” 2014). Interestingly, the majority of current residents are native-born, although their ancestry reveals a variety of locations, including Caribbean, Jamaican, and Dominican roots (“Williamsbridge demographics,” 2014). The combination of cultures and traditions created a neighborhood that has many different flavors – local bakeries and stores offer a range of products with their own historical meaning.

However, Williamsbridge also shares the problems typical for the city and the county. The rate of type 2 diabetes among adults of 45-64 years old living in Williamsbridge is higher than in many countries. In fact, more than 10% of all adults have type 2 diabetes in this region, while approximately a third of all adults have obesity (King et al., 2015). The results of the windshield survey and analysis show that these rates may be connected to the fact that Williamsbridge’s population does not have access to healthy foods and healthcare due to socioeconomic reasons.

Windshield Survey Findings and Demographics

The surveyed community is represented by adults in the age range of 45-64 years living in Williamsbridge, Bronx, NY. This portion of the area’s population constitutes a quarter of all people, with adults between 25 and 44 being the only group with a higher number (King et al., 2015). Another quarter of the neighborhood’s population is children between 0 and 17 years old. Thus, one can see that the region has a variety of age groups.

More than 60% of all residents identify as Black, and more than 20% are Hispanic (King et al., 2015; NYAM, 2014). Other ethnicities are a minority in the region, although the diversity remains high with people having different countries of origin and family immigration histories. In Williamsbridge, more than half of the adult residents have a high school education, and a third possess a college degree. This percentage is lower than that in New York City as a whole, although the Bronx has lower rates of college and high school graduates (King et al., 2015).

Overall, the rates of unemployment, poverty, and financial problems in the neighborhood are similar to those in the county and higher than those in the city. In fact, “one in five Williamsbridge and Baychester residents lives below the Federal Poverty Level,” which shows how economic problems may impact the region (King et al., 2015, p. 6). The windshield survey also reveals that many houses in the area have maintenance problems. Some housing units have two or three stories and are occupied by multiple families, as seen in Figure 1.

Houses in Williamsbridge
Figure 1. Houses in Williamsbridge (Moran, n.d.).

The neighborhood also has apartment buildings and smaller houses, which are located in different parts of the neighborhood. The buildings are often connected, providing no free space in between. Moreover, the number of supermarkets with healthy options is low in comparison to other parts of the city. King et al. (2015) also note that more than a third of all residents consume at least one sugary beverage per day, which shows how the absence of healthy choices may affect the population.

Vulnerable Population Description and Available Resources

The vulnerable population is adults who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Many of these residents are overweight – this is a problem that is common in the Bronx (“NYC food by the numbers,” 2014). Moreover, it should be noted that the discussed neighborhood has a significant African American community, and people of color have a higher probability of having excessive weight than white New Yorkers.

This is one of the social determinants that will be discussed further. Type 2 diabetes is a condition that emerges with time, and older people are more likely to develop insulin-related problems for many reasons. The population in Williamsbridge has county and city resources that address the problem of diabetes. For example, Bronx Health REACH is a program focused on preventing and managing diabetes through education and support (NYAM, 2014).

Social Determinants of Health

There exists a direct connection between the socioeconomic factors of the neighborhood’s residents and their health. For example, the high prevalence of poverty in the region is one of the determinants of people’s ability to make healthy choices (Braveman & Gottlieb, 2014). Dietary restrictions are linked to people’s ability to purchase fresh and high-quality produce. Moreover, adults who are busy at work often cannot afford to cook or exercise regularly.

The rates of obesity and the consumption of sugary drinks also contribute to the development of diabetes. The insecurity in one’s income leads to stress and depression, further exacerbating possible health-related problems (Patel, Piette, Resnicow, Kowalski-Dobson, & Heisler, 2016). Such factors as the lack of insurance lower people’s preparedness for health emergencies – people are not as educated about healthcare or do not have access to qualified medical assistance (Chambers et al., 2015).

The development of type 2 diabetes often depends on people’s ability to have enough physical activity, make healthy dietary choices, and live in a clean environment. According to King et al. (2015), air pollution in the neighborhood is substantial, leading to such problems as asthma. This issue may also exacerbate other conditions and lower the overall comfort of the residents. The lack of access to education for many people also decreases their ability to get jobs with high incomes (Walker, Williams, & Egede, 2016).

Therefore, they may not receive access to healthcare which, in turn, restricts their opportunities to prevent the onset of diabetes (Walker, Gebregziabher, Martin-Harris, & Egede, 2015). This set of consequences defines people living under the poverty line in Williamsbridge.

Community Strengths

The neighborhood’s diverse and vibrant culture may be considered as one of its strengths. Furthermore, the fact that the local community and the city agencies acknowledge the problem of diabetes can lead to positive changes as county-wide programs target people with financial limitations. Another benefit is the area’s wide range of different ages – young people living in the region may contribute to the older person’s healthcare education by creating new opportunities and services. The variety of culture-based traditions also leads to the establishment of close-knit communities that care for their members and assist them with health-related questions. It is possible that some religious organizations and educational facilities may have an impact on people’s healthy choices.

Conclusion

The survey and demographic analysis show that the community of adults living in Williamsbridge has multiple health-related problems and limitations. Many of them are based on high levels of poverty, the lack of insurance, and the rate of obesity in the population. Thus, many adults between 45 and 64 years old are at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the prevention of which is linked to diet and exercise. Nonetheless, the attention that the county devotes to this healthcare problem may improve the situation and give the neighborhood’s residents a chance at improvement.

References

Braveman, P., & Gottlieb, L. (2014). The social determinants of health: It’s time to consider the causes of the causes. Public Health Reports, 129(Supplement 2), 19-31.

Chambers, E. C., Wong, B. C., Riley, R. W., Hollingsworth, N., Blank, A. E., Myers, C.,… Selwyn, P. A. (2015). Combining clinical and population-level data to understand the health of neighborhoods. American Journal of Public Health, 105(3), 510-512.

City living: Come to Williamsbridge for the culture. (2014). Web.

King, L., Hinterland, K., Dragan, K. L., Driver, C. R., Harris, T. G., Gwynn, R. C.,… Bassett, M. T. (2015). Bronx community district 12: Williamsbridge and Baychester. Community Health Profiles, 24(59), 1-16.

Moran, K. (n.d.). [Image]. Web.

New York Academy of Medicine [NYAM]. (2014). . Web.

. (2014). Web.

Patel, M. R., Piette, J. D., Resnicow, K., Kowalski-Dobson, T., & Heisler, M. (2016). Social determinants of health, cost-related non-adherence, and cost-reducing behaviors among adults with diabetes: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey. Medical Care, 54(8), 796-803.

Walker, R. J., Gebregziabher, M., Martin-Harris, B., & Egede, L. E. (2015). Quantifying direct effects of social determinants of health on glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 17(2), 80-87.

Walker, R. J., Williams, J. S., & Egede, L. E. (2016). Influence of race, ethnicity and social determinants of health on diabetes outcomes. The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, 351(4), 366-373.

. (2014). Web.

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