DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.14531 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 14531: Higher Urban Health Index is Associated With Lower Ambulatory Blood Pressure in People Living in Southeast United States

Zhidong Wang, Dajun Dai, Hongyan Xu, Christine Stauber, Yanbin Dong, Haidong Zhu
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Hypertension is common in the Southeastern (SE) United States (US), which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. Ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) monitoring is the gold standard for diagnosing hypertension and provides better information on cardio- and cerebrovascular risk than office blood pressure (BP). However, the role of social determinants of health (SDOH) and their influence on BP elevation has been scarcely examined on a neighborhood level. The Urban Health Index (UHI), developed by the World Health Organization, has the potential to measure disparities in SDOH at the small areal level and examine inequalities in health outcomes.

Hypothesis: Higher UHI is associated with lower blood pressure.

Methods: We analyzed data using a longitudinal cohort established in 1989 with 724 individuals (age 5-16 in 1989, 50.8% females, 47.1% African Americans) from the Central Savannah River Area. A census tract level UHI was calculated using indicators of employment, income, and educational attainment. The UHI is a unitless and continuous measure (between 0 and 1). The relationship between UHI (2000 and 2010 data) and ABP was examined using a linear regression model, adjusted for age, sex, race, and family socioeconomic status.

Results: Higher UHI was associated with lower ABP, with a 3.15 mmHg and 2.72 mmHg drop in 24-hour systolic and diastolic ABP with 1 unit increase in UHI, respectively (2000 data; p=0.010; p=0.020). The 2010 data showed similar trends, with an increase in UHI linked to a 2.66 mmHg decrease in mean 24-hour systolic ABP (P=0.042), with the diastolic ABP reduction (1.74 mmHg) in the same direction though not statistically significant (p=0.088).

Conclusions: This is one of the first studies to delineate the correlation of ABP with UHI. Our results show that a higher UHI is associated with lower systolic and diastolic ABP, underscoring the influence of aggregate indicators of SDOH on individual health outcomes. Our results support the utility of the UHI as a tool to inform health policymakers on disparities on a sub-county level thereby informing targeted interventions to address these disparities.

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