A new study, published Monday in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researched how neighborhood food environments are associated with atherosclerosis, the buildup of artery-clogging plaque that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Previous studies have shown a link between poor neighborhoods and poor cardiovascular health. In this Northwestern University-led study, researchers looked at the location of convenience stores and fast food restaurants and their relationship with coronary artery calcium, or CAC, test results.
Researchers looked at a decade of data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study and compared changes in CAC results over that time to changes in the percentage of convenience stores and fast food restaurants within about two miles of the participant’s house.
After adjusting for various factors, researchers discovered participants had a 34 percent increase in the likelihood of developing atherosclerosis with each 10 percent increase in nearby convenience stores.
“This supports the notion that place matters,” said Dr. Kiarri Kershaw, the study’s senior author. “An increase in convenience stores may make unhealthy eating options more readily accessible. It may also be a marker for a larger set of changes occurring in a neighborhood that could influence health, like a decline in wealth or economic investment.”Friday Letter Submission