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Health of the Food Environment Is Associated With Heart Failure Mortality in the United States.

Gondi KT, Larson J, Sifuentes A, Alexander NB, Konerman MC, Thomas KS, Hummel SL. Health of the Food Environment Is Associated With Heart Failure Mortality in the United States. Circulation. Heart failure. 2022 Dec 1; 15(12):e009651.

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BACKGROUND: Food environment factors contribute to cardiovascular disease, but their effect on population-level heart failure (HF) mortality is unclear. METHODS: We utilized the National Vital Statistics System and USDA Food Environment Atlas to collect HF mortality rates (MR) and 2 county food environment indices: (1) food insecurity percentage (FI%) and (2) food environment index (FEI), a scaled index (0-10, 10 best) incorporating FI% and access to healthy food. We used linear regression to estimate the association between food environment and HF MR Results: Mean county FI% and FEI were 13% and 7.8 in 2956 included counties. Counties with FI% above the national median had significantly higher HF MR (30.7 versus 26.7 per 100?000; < 0.001) compared with FI% below the national median. Counties with HF MR above the national median had higher FI%, lower FEI, lower density of grocery stores, poorer access to stores among older adults, and lower Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation rate ( < 0.001 for all). Lower county FI% (ß = -1.3% per 1% decrease) and higher county FEI (ß = -3.6% per 1-unit increase in FEI) were significantly associated with lower HF MR after adjustment for county demographic, socioeconomic, and health factors. This association was stronger for HF MR compared with non-HF cardiovascular disease MR and all-cause MR The relationship between food environment and HF MR was stronger in counties with the highest income inequity and poverty rate. CONCLUSIONS: Healthier food environment is significantly associated with lower HF mortality at the county level. This reinforces the role of food security on cardiovascular outcomes.

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