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J Urban Health. 2016 Apr;93(2):279-91. doi: 10.1007/s11524-016-0034-0.

Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status in Relation to Serum Biomarkers in the Black Women's Health Study.

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Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, 1010 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, M1177, San Francisco, CA, 94143, USA.
Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, 1010 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, 02215, USA.
Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02115, USA.
Office of Medical Affairs, Quest Diagnostics, 3 Giralda Farms, Madison, NJ, 07940, USA.


Lower neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Black women have a higher CVD risk and are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than white women. We examined the association of neighborhood SES with several CVD biomarkers using data from the Black Women's Health Study (BWHS), a follow-up study of US black women reporting high levels of education and income. Blood specimens of 418 BWHS participants were assayed for C-reactive protein (CRP), hemoglobin A1C (hgA1C), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. US Census block group data were linked to the women's addresses to reflect neighborhood SES. Multivariable-adjusted mixed linear regression models that adjusted for person-level SES and for cardiovascular risk factors were used to assess CRP, hgA1C, and HDL levels in relation to quintiles of neighborhood SES. Women living in the poorest neighborhoods had the least favorable biomarker levels. As neighborhood SES increased, CRP decreased (P for trend = 0.01), hgA1C decreased (P for trend = 0.07), and HDL increased (P for trend = 0.19). These associations were present within strata of individual educational level. The present findings suggest that neighborhood environments may affect physiological processes within residents independently of individual SES.


African-Americans; Neighborhood socioeconomic status; Serum biomarkers; Women

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