Heart disease risk is tied more to place than race

Armen Hareyan's picture

Risk of heart disease

Where you live might play a bigger role in your risk for heart disease than your ethnicity or race. New research reveals that rural residents were more knowledgeable about healthy eating and heart disease risk than urban residents, but that urban residents were more motivated and optimistic about getting healthy. And further, these differences persisted when the researchers compared rural Caucasians to urban Caucasians.


The findings could help healthcare professionals better target heart disease prevention programs.

Carol Homko, Ph.D., researcher and assistant professor at Temple University School of Medicine, suggests that the differences are partly due to lifestyle. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more plentiful and less costly in rural areas, where it's also easier and safer to exercise outside. Urban areas often lack good grocery stores, forcing residents to rely on corner stores that don't have many fresh food selections at reasonable prices.

Homko and her fellow researchers presented their findings at the American Heart Association's Cardiovascular Disease and Epidemiology meeting in Orlando, Fla. (Feb. 28