February 25, 2019
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Living in food deserts confers elevated CV risk in CAD

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Increased risk for adverse CV events in adults with CAD is associated with living in food deserts, with adults living in low-income areas having significantly worse outcomes, according to findings published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Heval M. Kelli, MD, of the division of cardiology, department of medicine at Emory University, and colleagues assessed the effect of living in food deserts on adverse CV events using a cohort of patients with suspected or confirmed CAD.

“Given our prior work showing that area income drives the unfavorable cardiovascular disease risk profile and disease burden, we hypothesized that living in [a food desert] would be an independent risk factor of adverse cardiovascular outcomes, independent of the traditional risk factors, and it would be largely driven by low area income, not the level of access to food,” Kelli and colleagues wrote.

The study comprised 4,944 adults (mean age, 64 years; 64% men; 22% black) who underwent cardiac catherization in the Emory Cardiovascular Biobank. Outcomes of interest were MI and death. Median follow-up was 3.2 years.

According to Kelli and colleagues, 20% of participants lived in a food desert and had a higher adjusted risk for MI (subdistribution HR = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.06-1.95) compared with participants not living in food deserts.

In a multivariate analysis including food access and area income, only living in low-income areas was associated with higher adjusted risk for MI (subdistribution HR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.06-1.85) and death/MI (HR = 1.18; 95% CI, 1.02-1.35), whereas living in a poor-access area was not significantly associated with either (subdistribution HR for MI = 1.05; 95% CI, 0.8-1.38; HR for death/MI = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.87-1.14).

“The reasons for the risk posed by low-income areas in patients with CAD need further exploration,” Kelli and colleagues wrote. “This realization may help refine and better navigate governmental and nongovernmental resources to low-income areas.” – by Earl Holland Jr.

Disclosures: Kelli reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.