(HealthDay News) — Neighborhood environment is associated with ideal cardiovascular health, according to a study published online in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Erin Unger, MD, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis to examine the correlation between neighborhood environment and overall cardiovascular (CV) health.

Individual scores were assigned for ideal, intermediate and poor categories of cholesterol, BMI, diet, physical activity, fasting glucose, blood pressure and smoking, based on American Heart Association 2020 Strategic Goals, and the scores were summed.

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Overall scores were classified as ideal (11 to 14 points), intermediate (9 to 10 points) and poor (0 to 8 points). The neighborhood exposures analyzed included favorable food store, physical activity resources density, reported availability of healthy food, walking/physical activity environment, safety and social cohesion.

The researchers found that more than 20% of participants had an ideal CV health score at baseline. After full adjustment for demographics and neighborhood socioeconomic status, the odds of having an ideal CV health score were increased in association with favorable food stores (odds ratio [OR], 1.22), physical activity resources (OR, 1.19), walking/physical activity environment (OR, 1.20) and neighborhood socioeconomic status (OR, 1.22).

“Further research is needed to investigate the longitudinal associations between neighborhood environment and cardiovascular health,” the researchers wrote.


  1. Unger E et al. Circ Cadiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2014;doi: 10.1161/​CIRCOUTCOMES.113.000698.