The Relationship Between Urban Sprawl and Coronary Heart Disease in Women

Published in: Health & Place, v. 20, Mar. 2013, p. 51-61

Posted on RAND.org on March 01, 2013

by Beth Ann Griffin, Christine Eibner, Chloe E. Bird, Adria D. Jewell, Karen L. Margolis, Regina A. Shih, Mary Ellen Slaughter, Eric A. Whitsel, Matthew Allison, Jose J. Escarce

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Studies have reported relationships between urban sprawl, physical activity, and obesity, but – to date – no studies have considered the relationship between sprawl and coronary heart disease (CHD) endpoints. In this analysis, we use longitudinal data on post-menopausal women from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trial to analyze the relationship between metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-level urban compactness (the opposite of sprawl) and CHD endpoints including death, any CHD event, and myocardial infarction. Models control for individual and neighborhood socio-demographic characteristics. Women who lived in more compact communities at baseline had a lower probability of experiencing a CHD event and CHD death or MI during the study follow-up period. One component of compactness, high residential density, had a particularly noteworthy effect on outcomes. Finally, exploratory analyses showed evidence that the effects of compactness were moderated by race and region.

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