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PLoS One. 2013 May 14;8(5):e63254. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063254. Print 2013.

Neighborhood disadvantage, neighborhood safety and cardiometabolic risk factors in African Americans: biosocial associations in the Jackson Heart study.

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Division of General Medicine and Primary Care, Brigham and Women's-Faulkner Hospitalist Program, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



We examined associations between neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage, perceived neighborhood safety and cardiometabolic risk factors, adjusting for health behaviors and socioeconomic status (SES) among African Americans.


Study participants were non-diabetic African Americans (n = 3,909) in the baseline examination (2000-2004) of the Jackson Heart Study. We measured eight risk factors: the metabolic syndrome, its five components, insulin resistance and cardiovascular inflammation. We assessed neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage with US Census 2000 data. We assessed perceived neighborhood safety, health behaviors and SES via survey. We used generalized estimating equations to estimate associations with a random intercept model for neighborhood effects.


After adjustment for health behaviors and SES, neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage was associated with the metabolic syndrome in women (PR 1.13, 95% CI 1.01, 1.27). Lack of perceived safety was associated with elevated glucose (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.03, 1.80) and waist circumference (PR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02, 1.11) among women, and with elevated glucose (PR 1.30, 95% CI 1.02, 1.66) and insulin resistance (PR 1.25, 95% CI 1.08, 1.46) among men.


Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and perceived safety should be considered as targets for intervention to reduce cardiometabolic risks among African Americans.

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