Level of neighborhood deprivation linked to diabetes risk
A person’s level of neighborhood deprivation had an effect of their risk for type 2 diabetes, a new study has found. A quasi-experimental study looking at refugees in Sweden dispersed to low-, moderate-, or high-deprivation neighborhoods showed that assignment to a high-deprivation area resulted in a significantly increased risk for diabetes.
“This effect accumulates over time,” researcher Justin S. White, PhD, of University of California, San Francisco, told Medical Economics. “Our study speaks to the importance of neighborhood environment on risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. It suggests that investing more in more vulnerable communities could lead to meaningful improvements in health.”
The results of the study were published online in Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology
According to the study, prior research has shown that neighborhoods where people live are correlated with diabetes risk. However, correlation is not causation, White pointed out. With this analysis, White and colleagues wanted to build on observational studies to test whether neighborhoods exert a causal effect on diabetes risk.
To do that, they used a unique natural experiment in which the Swedish government dispersed refugees, more or less at random, to neighborhoods throughout Sweden, allowing them to compare outcomes among refugees who ended up in a low-income area with those in a high-income area.