A recent study has found that lower income people are correlated with a higher risk of developing heart diseases, as they have less ability to afford healthier food choices.
According to a recent study in Atlanta, people with lower annual incomes are linked to a higher risk of heart disease development, as they have a limited access to healthier food options.
The study analyzed people who lived in what they called “food deserts.” “Food deserts are defined as areas that have below average income together with poor access to healthy foods, ie. lack of grocery stores (within 1 mile in urban and 10 miles in rural communities),” Dr. Arshed Quyyumi, the lead author and cariolodist from “Emory University School”, said to Reuters Health.
The study examined over 1,400 adults aged around 50 and living in the metropolitan region of Atlanta. Around 40 percent of them were men, and 37 were African Americans. The researchers surveyed them for economic and personal information and also performed tests in order to detect any possible inflammation, elevation of blood pressure or blood sugar, and arterial stiffness.
Around 13 percent lived in food deserts, and also had higher numbers of people who smoked, and were more commonly found to be obese or overweight, and have hardened arteries and high blood pressure.
When analyzing the results, they found that people who lived in low-income neighborhoods in food deserts had the same risks of heart disease as their counterparts in low-income neighborhoods with good access to food.
Comments From the Researchers
“We found that area income, and even more importantly, personal income was associated with higher cardiovascular risk, and that access to food was not that important a risk,” said Quyyumi.
He also added that scientists had previously known that various neighborhood factors played an important social role in determining the outcomes of diseases.
“People not having access to healthy food choices is a possible cause for poor health. However, our study shows the greater impact of lower socio-economic status as a stronger risk factor.”
Keith Ferdinand, another researcher in the study, also pointed out the racial disadvantages at play here. “African Americans have higher rates of hypertension, stroke, heart attack deaths and heart failure than other groups in the U.S.,” Ferdinand said. “Those racial disparities are caused by multiple factors.”
“Food desserts may contribute to higher heart disease and strokes, with many black neighbourhoods reportedly having more fast food restaurants, fewer supermarkets with healthy options, and there being less availability of safe places for outdoor physical activity.” he said.