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Environment Awareness Behavior Cardio-Vascular

Location Location Location: Living Near The Wrong Things Is Bad For Your Heart

4 months, 3 weeks ago

3724  0
Posted on Feb 29, 2024, 5 p.m.

According to recent research published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation: Heart Failure, exposure/living in a close proximity to/and a higher number of ready-to-eat food outlets/establishments, particularly pubs, taverns, bars, restaurants, and fast food shacks may be associated with a greater risk of developing heart failure. The association between exposure to food environments and the increased risk of heart failure was found to be the most strongest among those without a college education and those living in urban areas without access to facilities that offer opportunities to participate in physical activities such as gyms, and fitness centers.

These kinds of ready-to-eat food environments typically provide unhealthy processed foods and beverages that have been linked to cardiovascular diseases, said study senior author Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the epidemiology department at Tulane University in New Orleans. This study may be among the first to assess the associations between these environments and heart failure with long-term observation. 

“Most previous research on the relation between nutrition and human health has been focused on food quality, while neglecting the impact of food environment,” Qi said. “Our study highlights the importance of accounting for food environment in nutrition research.”

For this study data was utilized from the UK Biobank containing health and other information for over 500,000 adults between the ages of 37 to 73 years old from 22 assessment centers to measure exposure to 3 types of food environments: pubs/bars, restaurants/cafeterias, and fast food restaurants. Exposure was measured by both proximity and establishment density (living within a 15-minute walk/0.62 miles/1 kilometer).

The analysis revealed that there were close to 13,000 cases of heart failure recorded during a 12-year follow-up period and that living in closer proximity and a greater density of ready-to-eat food outlets were associated with an elevated risk for heart failure. The risk of heart failure was stronger among those without a college degree and in areas without access to physical activity facilities. Those living in the highest density of ready-to-eat outlets had a 16% greater risk of heart failure compared to those without these outlets near their homes. 

Those living near dense areas of pubs/bars had a 14% increased risk for heart failure, and those living near dense areas of fast food shacks had a 12% increased risk. Those living closest to pubs/bars had a 13% increased risk for heart failure compared to those living further away, and those living closest to fast food establishments had a 10% increased risk compared to those living further away. 

The researchers said that their findings were in line with their expectations, “because previous studies have suggested that exposure to ready-to-eat food environments is associated with risks of other disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity, which may also increase the risk of heart failure,” explained Qi.

“Given the clear association between Black race and high incidence of heart failure as compared to white patients, as well as associations with worse heart failure outcomes, attention to food environment in this high-risk population is of the utmost importance,” wrote Elissa Driggin M.D., M.S., and Ersilia M. DeFilippis, M.D., both of Columbia University Medical Center in New York in an accompanying editorial. “It has already been demonstrated that compared to predominantly white neighborhoods, there are significantly fewer supermarkets in predominantly Black neighborhoods, which are likely to be inversely associated with ready-to-eat food environments.”

“Consuming a healthy diet is too hard for too many people,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, the Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “Structural racism and factors that contribute to poverty mean that historically excluded people suffer the consequences of poor-quality diets at disproportionate levels. For over a century, we’ve saved and improved lives at the American Heart Association and will continue to focus on initiatives like this in our next 100 years by ensuring everyone, everywhere enjoys their healthiest lives.”

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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