Poorer Neighborhood Walkability May Increase Cardiovascular Risk

People in less walkable areas up to 33 percent more likely to have a high 10-year cardiovascular risk

THURSDAY, Nov. 7, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Adults living in less walkable neighborhoods have a higher predicted 10-year cardiovascular disease risk compared with individuals living in highly walkable areas, according to a study published in the Nov. 5 issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Nicholas A. Howell, Ph.D., from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues used linked electronic medical record and administrative health data from the Cardiovascular Health in Ambulatory Care Research Team cohort (44,448 individuals) to evaluate neighborhood walkability as a risk factor for future cardiovascular disease.

The researchers reported that fully adjusted analyses revealed a nonlinear relationship between walkability and predicted 10-year cardiovascular disease risk for the least versus most walkable neighborhood (odds ratio, 1.09; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.22). The greatest difference in risk was seen for quintiles 3 and 5 (odds ratio, 1.33; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.23 to 1.45). There were dose-response associations for systolic blood pressure, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk. There was an inverse association with smoking status.

"From a public policy perspective, the findings support the idea that the benefits of walkable neighborhoods could be significant enough to move the dial for individual health," Howell said in a statement.

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