Neighborhood Characteristics and Cardiovascular Biomarkers in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: the Baltimore Memory Study

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Neighborhood greenness has been linked to better cardiovascular health, but little is known about its association with biomarkers related to cardiovascular risk. Adverse neighborhood conditions, such as disorder and socioeconomic disadvantage, are associated with higher cardiovascular biomarker levels, but these relationships may differ in neighborhoods with more greenness. This study evaluated cross-sectional associations of validated measures of neighborhood greenness, disorder, and socioeconomic disadvantage with cardiovascular biomarkers in middle-aged and older adults living in Baltimore City. The sample included 500 adults, aged 57–79 years, enrolled in the Baltimore Memory Study and living in Baltimore City during 2009–2010. Multi-level log-gamma regressions examined associations between the three neighborhood characteristics and seven cardiovascular biomarkers. Models additionally evaluated the effect modification by neighborhood greenness on associations of neighborhood disorder and socioeconomic disadvantage with the biomarkers. Adjusting for covariates and neighborhood greenness, greater neighborhood disorder was associated with higher C-reactive protein (exp β = 1.21, SE = 0.11, p = 0.035) and serum amyloid A (exp β = 1.28, SE = 0.12, p = 0.008), while greater neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage was associated with higher tumor necrosis factor alpha (exp β = 1.24, SE = 0.12, p = 0.019). Higher neighborhood greenness was associated with lower soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, accounting for disorder (exp β = 0.70, SE = 0.10, p = 0.010) and socioeconomic disadvantage (exp β = 0.73, SE = 0.10, p = 0.025). There was no evidence of effect modification among neighborhood characteristics. The findings suggest that neighborhood effects on cardiovascular health may be mediated through cardiovascular biomarker levels, and that socioeconomic disadvantage, disorder, and greenness may each be important features of neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Cardiovascular biomarkers
  • Disorder
  • Greenness
  • Middle-aged and older adults
  • Neighborhood
  • Socioeconomic disadvantage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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