Neighborhood-level racial/ethnic residential segregation and incident cardiovascular disease: the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Kiarri N Kershaw, Theresa L Osypuk, D Phuong Do, Peter J De Chavez, Ana V Diez Roux
Circulation 2015 January 13, 131 (2): 141-8

BACKGROUND: Previous research suggests that neighborhood-level racial/ethnic residential segregation is linked to health, but it has not been studied prospectively in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants were 1595 non-Hispanic black, 2345 non-Hispanic white, and 1289 Hispanic adults from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis free of CVD at baseline (aged 45-84 years). Own-group racial/ethnic residential segregation was assessed by using the Gi* statistic, a measure of how the neighborhood racial/ethnic composition deviates from surrounding counties' racial/ethnic composition. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to estimate hazard ratios for incident CVD (first definite angina, probable angina followed by revascularization, myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest, coronary heart disease death, stroke, or stroke death) over 10.2 median years of follow-up. Among blacks, each standard deviation increase in black segregation was associated with a 12% higher hazard of developing CVD after adjusting for demographics (95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.22). This association persisted after adjustment for neighborhood-level characteristics, individual socioeconomic position, and CVD risk factors (hazard ratio, 1.12; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.23). For whites, higher white segregation was associated with lower CVD risk after adjusting for demographics (hazard ratio, 0.88; 95% confidence interval, 0.81-0.96), but not after further adjustment for neighborhood characteristics. Segregation was not associated with CVD risk among Hispanics. Similar results were obtained after adjusting for time-varying segregation and covariates.

CONCLUSIONS: The association of residential segregation with cardiovascular risk varies according to race/ethnicity. Further work is needed to better characterize the individual- and neighborhood-level pathways linking segregation to CVD risk.

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