People living in poorer neighborhoods at increased risk for death, worse health risks

December 8, 2009

Regardless of an individual's dietary and lifestyle risk factors, living in a poorer or more socioeconomically deprived neighborhood may increase a person's risk for death, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, held Dec. 6-9, 2009.

Researchers conducted the NIH-AARP Diet and Study and found that people living in poorer neighborhoods, as determined by U.S. Census data, reported higher health risks, including heart disease and cancer, and were more likely to die sooner regardless of lifestyle and other risk factors.

"We were expecting that once we controlled for these lifestyle and factors, the differences would go away," said Chyke Doubeni, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of family medicine and community health and assistant vice provost for diversity at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. "We weren't surprised by the unadjusted differences, but we were surprised that the differences persisted after controlling for lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, exercise and medical risks."

Previous data have demonstrated that people from lower socioeconomic groups have poorer health outcomes. Doubeni and colleagues prospectively evaluated whether people living in more deprived neighborhoods have a higher mortality risk.

Through the NIH-AARP study, they collected diet, lifestyle and medical history data from a prospective cohort of 565,697 participants, aged 50 to 71, from six U.S. states and two metropolitan areas during 1995 to 1996. Participants' mean age was 62 years, and the cohort consisted of 60 percent men, 91 percent non-Hispanic whites, 4 percent non-Hispanic blacks and 9 percent had a history of cancer.

Results revealed that a larger percentage of participants living in the most deprived neighborhoods reported poorer general health, higher average and lower Mediterranean diet scores, meaning that their diets were unhealthy. After Doubeni and colleagues controlled for dietary and factors, the risk for death increased as the levels of deprivation in the neighborhood increased.

"We, as practitioners, either in the health care systems or clinics, should be alert to the needs of people from these backgrounds," Doubeni said. "We need to target public health interventions to these neighborhoods that are deprived by improving health resources and the physical environments in those areas."

Doubeni and colleagues are currently evaluating how living in a socioeconomically deprived neighborhood may influence overall cancer incidence and , specifically focusing on colorectal cancer.

Source: American Association for Research (news : web)

Explore further: Mediterranean diet and physical activity each associated with lower death rate over 5 years

Related Stories

Your neighborhood can affect your health

April 9, 2008

Research carried out at the Peninsula Medical School, South West England, has found strong links between neighbourhood deprivation and the physical and intellectual health of older people.

A healthy lifestyle halves the risk of premature death in women

September 17, 2008

Over half of deaths in women from chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease could be avoided if they never smoke, keep their weight in check, take exercise and eat a healthy diet low in red meat and trans-fats, according ...

Unhealthy lifestyle more than doubles stroke risk

February 20, 2009

People who lead unhealthy lifestyles are more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke than those who eat and drink sensibly, don't smoke, and take regular exercise, finds a study published on bmj.com today.

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.