OBJECTIVE: We examined whether relative availability of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets mediates the association between worse neighborhood socioeconomic conditions and risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D). RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: As part of the Diabetes Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities Network, three academic institutions used harmonized environmental data sources and analytic methods in three distinct study samples: 1) the Veterans Administration Diabetes Risk (VADR) cohort, a national administrative cohort of 4.1 million diabetes-free veterans developed using electronic health records (EHRs); 2) Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS), a longitudinal, epidemiologic cohort with Stroke Belt region oversampling (N = 11,208); and 3) Geisinger/Johns Hopkins University (G/JHU), an EHR-based, nested case-control study of 15,888 patients with new-onset T2D and of matched control participants in Pennsylvania. A census tract-level measure of neighborhood socioeconomic environment (NSEE) was developed as a community type-specific z-score sum. Baseline food-environment mediators included percentages of 1) fast-food restaurants and 2) food retail establishments that are supermarkets. Natural direct and indirect mediating effects were modeled; results were stratified across four community types: Higher-density urban, lower-density urban, suburban/small town, and rural. RESULTS: Across studies, worse NSEE was associated with higher T2D risk. In VADR, relative availability of fast-food restaurants and supermarkets was positively and negatively associated with T2D, respectively, whereas associations in REGARDS and G/JHU geographies were mixed. Mediation results suggested that little to none of the NSEE-diabetes associations were mediated through food-environment pathways. CONCLUSIONS: Worse neighborhood socioeconomic conditions were associated with higher T2D risk, yet associations are likely not mediated through food-environment pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing