A new study has revealed that neighbourhood socio-economic status has direct impact on the incidence of type 2 diabetes in women.
Previous studies have shown that the socioeconomic characteristics of a neighbourhood can affect health status independent of socioeconomic status of an individual.
Neighborhood environment influences diet and physical activity through the availability of grocery stores, recreational facilities and educational resources.
In addition, neighborhoods vary with regard to sources of chronic stress (noise, violence and poverty).
The study involving 46,382 African-American women, the incidence of diabetes was the highest in those living in neighbourhoods with the lowest socioeconomic status score after taking into account other risk factors for diabetes.
"Our findings indicate that the risk of type 2 diabetes for African-American women is influenced not just by individual characteristics, but by the characteristics of the neighbourhoods in which they live," said senior author Julie Palmer, Sc.D., a senior epidemiologist at the Slone Epidemiology Center and professor of epidemiology at Boston University School of Public Health.
"Even women with the highest educational levels appeared to be affected by their neighbourhood environment," she added.
The study appears in American Journal of Epidemiology.