Neighborhood Socioeconomic Environment and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Associations and Mediation Through Food Environment Pathways in Three Independent Study Samples

Lorna E. Thorpe, Samrachana Adhikari, Priscilla Lopez, Rania Kanchi, Leslie A. McClure, Annemarie G. Hirsch, Carrie R. Howell, Aowen Zhu, Farrokh Alemi, Pasquale Rummo, Elizabeth L. Ogburn, Yasemin Algur, Cara M. Nordberg, Melissa N. Poulsen, Leann Long, April P. Carson, Shanika A. DeSilva, Melissa Meeker, Brian S. Schwartz, David C. LeeKaren R. Siegel, Giuseppina Imperatore, Brian Elbel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-810
Number of pages13
JournalDiabetes Care
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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