Adverse housing conditions contribute to diabetes risk

INDIANAPOLIS Fair or poor housing conditions are associated with the risk of developing diabetes in urban, middle-aged African-Americans according to a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology by a team of investigators from Indiana University School of Medicine, the Regenstrief Institute, Washington University in St. Louis and other institutions.

The researchers studied men and women in their homes (apartment or house) and environs in two St. Louis neighborhoods one a poor, inner-city area and the other a less impoverished, suburban area that included several pockets of residents from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Adjusting for previously recognized diabetes risk factors such as weight, smoking, exercise, alcohol use, marital status and education, the researchers found that housing conditions influenced the risk of developing diabetes, although there was no direct association with conditions in the neighborhoods immediately outside their homes.

We found a strong link between housing and diabetes risk but its not clear exactly how housing conditions are exerting this influence, says study senior author Douglas K. Miller, M.D., Richard M. Fairbanks Professor in Aging Research at IU School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute research scientist. However, it is clear that it wont be possible to reduce disparities in health status among subgroups in the population and thus improve health without understanding how a persons environment can affect that persons health.

We looked at several factors to see if they could clarify why housing conditions were contributing to the development of diabetes, but none of these factors seemed to explain the relationship at all, explains Mario Schootman, Ph.D., lead author and chief of the Division of Health Behavior Research at Washington University. However, there were several potential explanations such as environmental contaminants that we were unab

Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
Indiana University

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