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

Dec 08, 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: Study reveals a cause of poorer outcomes for African-American patients with breast cancer

Related Stories

Your neighborhood can affect your health

Apr 09, 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.

Unhealthy lifestyle more than doubles stroke risk

Feb 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

DNA blood test detects lung cancer mutations

Apr 17, 2015

Cancer DNA circulating in the bloodstream of lung cancer patients can provide doctors with vital mutation information that can help optimise treatment when tumour tissue is not available, an international group of researchers ...

Tumors prefer the easy way out

Apr 17, 2015

Tumor cells become lethal when they spread. Blocking this process can be a powerful way to stop cancer. Historically, scientists thought that tumor cells migrated by brute force, actively pushing through whatever ...

User comments : 0

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.