Association of neighborhood characteristics with cardiovascular health in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Erin Unger, Ana V. Diez-Roux, Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, Mahasin S. Mujahid, Jennifer A. Nettleton, Alain Bertoni, Sylvia E. Badon, Hongyan Ning, Norrina B. Allen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background-The concept of cardiovascular health (CVH) was introduced as a global measure of one's burden of cardiovsacular risk factors. Previous studies established the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and individual cardiovascular risk factors. However, the relationship between neighborhood environment and overall CVH remains unknown. Methods and Results-We analyzed data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis baseline examination (2000- 2002). Mean age was 61.6 years, and 52% were women. Ideal, intermediate, and poor categories of cholesterol, body mass index, diet, physical activity, fasting glucose, blood pressure, and smoking were defined according to the American Heart Association 2020 Strategic Goals, assigned an individual score, and summed to create an overall score. CVH scores were categorized into ideal (11-14 points), intermediate (9-10), and poor (0-8). Neighborhood exposures included favorable food store and physical activity resources densities (by 1-mile buffer), reported healthy food availability, walking/physical activity environment, safety, and social cohesion (by census tract). Multinomial logistic regression was used to determine the association of each characteristic with ideal and intermediate CVH, adjusted for demographics and neighborhood socioeconomic status. Over 20% of Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants had an ideal CVH score at baseline. In fully adjusted models, favorable food stores (odds ratio=1.22; 1.06-1.40), physical activity resources (odds ratio=1.19; 1.08-1.31), walking/physical activity environment (odds ratio=1.20; 1.05-1.37), and neighborhood socioeconomic status (odds ratio=1.22; 1.11-1.33) were associated with higher odds of having an ideal CVH score. Conclusions-Neighborhood environment including favorable food stores, physical activity resources, walking/physical activity environment, and neighborhood socioeconomic status are associated with ideal CVH. Further research is needed to investigate the longitudinal associations between neighborhood environment and CVH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)524-531
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2014


  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Prevention & control
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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