Neighborhood Physical Conditions and Health

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 93, no. 3, Mar. 2003, p. 467-471

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Deborah A. Cohen, Karen Mason, Ariane L. Bedimo-Rung, Richard Scribner, Victoria Basolo, Thomas Farley

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OBJECTIVES: The authors explored the relationship between boarded-up housing and rates of gonorrhea and premature mortality. METHODS: In this ecological study of 107 US cities, they developed several models predicting rates of gonorrhea and premature death before age 65 from all causes and from specific causes. The authors controlled for race, poverty, education, population change, and health insurance coverage. RESULTS: Boarded-up housing remained a predictor of gonorrhea rates, all-cause premature mortality, and premature mortality due to malignant neoplasms, diabetes, homicide, and suicide after control for sociodemographic factors. CONCLUSIONS: Boarded-up housing may be related to mortality risk because of its potential adverse impact on social relationships and opportunities to engage in healthful behaviors. Neighborhood physical conditions deserve further consideration as a potential global factor influencing health and well-being.

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