Neighborhood context and kidney disease in Philadelphia

SSM Popul Health. 2020 Aug 17;12:100646. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2020.100646. eCollection 2020 Dec.


Neighborhood context might influence the risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that impacts approximately 10% of the United States population and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality, and costs. We included a sample of 23,692 individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who were seen in a large academic primary care practice between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. We used generalized linear equations to estimate the associations between indicators of neighborhood context (e.g., proximity to healthy foods stores, neighborhood walkability, social capital, crime rate, socioeconomic status) and CKD, adjusted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and insurance coverage. Among those with CKD, secondary outcomes were poor glycemic control (hemoglobin A1c ≥ 6.5%) and uncontrolled blood pressure (systolic ≥ 140 mm Hg and/or diastolic ≥ 90 mm Hg). The cohort represented residents from 97% of Philadelphia census tracts. CKD prevalence was 10%. When all neighborhood context metrics were considered collectively, only lower neighborhood socioeconomic index (a composite assessment of neighborhood income, educational attainment, and occupation) was associated with a higher risk of CKD (lowest tertile vs. highest tertile: adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.46 [1.25, 1.69]; mid-tertile vs. highest-tertile: aRR 1.35 [1.25, 1.52]). Among those with CKD, compared to residence in the most walkable neighborhoods (i.e., where most essential resources are accessible by foot), residence in neighborhoods with mid-level WalkScore® (i.e., where only some essential neighborhood resources are accessible by foot) was independently associated with poor glycemic control (aRR 1.20, 95% CI 1.01-1.42). These findings suggest a potential role for measures of neighborhood socioeconomic status in identifying communities that would benefit from screening and treatment for CKD. Studies are also needed to determine mechanisms to explain why residence in neighborhoods not easily navigated by foot or car might hinder glycemic control among people with CKD.

Keywords: Health disparities; Kidney disease; Social context; Urban health.