Association of Geographic Differences in Prevalence of Uncontrolled Chronic Conditions With Changes in Individuals' Likelihood of Uncontrolled Chronic Conditions.

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The prevalence of leading risk factors for morbidity and mortality in the US significantly varies across regions, states, and neighborhoods, but the extent these differences are associated with a person's place of residence vs the characteristics of the people who live in different places remains unclear.To estimate the degree to which geographic differences in leading risk factors are associated with a person's place of residence by comparing trends in health outcomes among individuals who moved to different areas or did not move.This retrospective cohort study estimated the association between the differences in the prevalence of uncontrolled chronic conditions across movers' destination and origin zip codes and changes in individuals' likelihood of uncontrolled chronic conditions after moving, adjusting for person-specific fixed effects, the duration of time since the move, and secular trends among movers and those who did not move. Electronic health records from the Veterans Health Administration were analyzed. The primary analysis included 5 342 207 individuals with at least 1 Veterans Health Administration outpatient encounter between 2008 and 2018 who moved zip codes exactly once or never moved.The difference in the prevalence of uncontrolled chronic conditions between a person's origin zip code and destination zip code (excluding the individual mover's outcomes).Prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure (systolic blood pressure level >140 mm Hg or diastolic blood pressure level >90 mm Hg), uncontrolled diabetes (hemoglobin A1c level >8%), obesity (body mass index >30), and depressive symptoms (2-item Patient Health Questionnaire score ≥2) per quarter-year during the 3 years before and the 3 years after individuals moved.The study population included 5 342 207 individuals (mean age, 57.6 [SD, 17.4] years, 93.9% men, 72.5% White individuals, and 12.7% Black individuals), of whom 1 095 608 moved exactly once and 4 246 599 never moved during the study period. Among the movers, the change after moving in the prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure was 27.5% (95% CI, 23.8%-31.3%) of the between-area difference in the prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure. Similarly, the change after moving in the prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes was 5.0% (95% CI, 2.7%-7.2%) of the between-area difference in the prevalence of uncontrolled diabetes; the change after moving in the prevalence of obesity was 3.1% (95% CI, 2.0%-4.2%) of the between-area difference in the prevalence of obesity; and the change after moving in the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 15.2% (95% CI, 13.1%-17.2%) of the between-area difference in the prevalence of depressive symptoms.In this retrospective cohort study of individuals receiving care at Veterans Health Administration facilities, geographic differences in prevalence were associated with a substantial percentage of the change in individuals' likelihood of poor blood pressure control or depressive symptoms, and a smaller percentage of the change in individuals' likelihood of poor diabetes control and obesity. Further research is needed to understand the source of these associations with a person's place of residence.


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