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Association of neighbourhood walkability and haemoglobin A1c levels among Latino and non-Hispanic White patients with diabetes.

Family Practice 2024 March 26
BACKGROUND: Neighbourhood walkability can benefit cardiovascular health. Latino patients are more likely than non-Hispanic White patients to have diabetes, and evidence has shown better diabetes-related outcomes for patients living in neighbourhoods conducive to physical activity. Our objective was to determine whether neighbourhood walkability was associated with haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels among English- and Spanish-preferring Latino patients compared to non-Hispanic White patients.

METHODS: We used electronic health record data from patients in the OCHIN, Inc. network of community health centres (CHC) linked to public walkability data. Patients included those age ≥ 18 with ≥ 1 address recorded, with a study clinic visit from 2012 to 2020, and a type 2 diabetes diagnosis (N = 159,289). Generalized estimating equations logistic regression, adjusted for relevant covariates, was used to model the primary binary outcome of always having HbA1c < 7 by language/ethnicity and walkability score.

RESULTS: For all groups, the walkability score was not associated with higher odds and prevalence of always having HbA1c < 7. Non-Hispanic White patients were most likely to have HbA1c always < 7 (prevalence ranged from 32.8% [95%CI = 31.2-34.1] in the least walkable neighbourhoods to 33.4% [95% CI 34.4-34.7] in the most walkable), followed by English-preferring Latinos (28.6% [95%CI = 25.4-31.8]-30.7% [95% CI 29.0-32.3]) and Spanish-preferring Latinos (28.3% [95% CI 26.1-30.4]-29.3% [95% CI 28.2-30.3]).

CONCLUSIONS: While walkability score was not significantly associated with glycaemic control, control appeared to increase with walkability, suggesting other built environment factors, and their interaction with walkability and clinical care, may play key roles. Latino patients had a lower likelihood of HbA1c always < 7, demonstrating an opportunity for equity improvements in diabetes care.

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