Abstract 18580: Living in a Food Desert Fails to Predict Heart Failure Readmissions
Introduction: Limited access to healthy food has been linked to an unfavorable cardiovascular risk profile. This study sought to determine whether living in a food desert or an area with low access to fresh food impacts 30-day readmissions and total hospitalizations for heart failure patients.
Hypothesis: Living in a food desert is associated with heart failure readmissions.
Methods: We identified patients admitted to a university hospital between 01/01/2013 and 12/31/2013 with a primary diagnosis of heart failure. We entered patients’ zip codes into the USDA Food Access Research Atlas to identify patients who live in areas with low access to fresh food or food deserts. Low-access areas are defined as regions where ≥ 33% of the population live > 1 mile (in urban areas) or > 10 miles (in rural areas) from a supermarket. Food deserts have the additional stipulation of areas where median income is ≤ 80% of statewide median. We used regression analysis to compare 30-day readmissions and total hospitalizations for patients living in low-access or food deserts vs. living in adequate-access areas. Additional variables including poverty level, health insurance status, and education level were also examined for each zip code.
Results: There was 2063 hospitalizations from 1598 unique patients in this sample (54% male, 41.1% African American, mean age 65±17 years, mean EF 41±19%). 789 (49.4%) patients lived in low-access areas and 318 (19.9%) lived in food deserts. 211 (13.2%) patients had at least one 30-day readmission. Living in a low-access area or a food desert was not associated with a 30-day readmission or the total number of heart failure-related hospitalizations (p > 0.05). Living in zip codes with levels of poverty, high school dropout rate, and uninsured status above the national average did not correlate with 30-day readmissions or total heart failure-related hospitalizations for our sample (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Living in a food desert or low-access area is not predictive of 30-day heart failure readmissions or total heart failure-related hospitalizations in this population. Further investigation examining additional outcome measures with a larger cohort and broader geography is necessary to substantiate these findings.
Author Disclosures: B. DeMoss: None. S. Phookan: None. M. Hammadah: None. H. Kelli: None. D. Gupta: None.
- © 2016 by American Heart Association, Inc.