Association between telomere length and neighborhood characteristics by race and region in US midlife and older adults

TitleAssociation between telomere length and neighborhood characteristics by race and region in US midlife and older adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsThierry, AD
JournalHealth and Place
ISBN Number13538292 (ISSN)
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Aging, Article, Black person, Caucasian, controlled study, Health Disparities, health disparity, human, neglect, neighborhood, Neighborhood characteristics, race, race difference, Retirement, Telomere length

Disadvantaged neighborhoods are correlated with worse health outcomes, particularly among US Blacks. However, less is known about the link between neighborhood characteristics and biomarkers of cellular age, such as telomere length (TL), which may be implicated in racial health inequities. Moreover, this relationship may vary across US region given patterns of racial segregation across the US. Therefore, this study analyzed 2008 Health and Retirement Study data on 3,869 US-born white and Black adults >50 years old to examine race differences in the relationship between salivary TL and (1) neighborhood safety, cleanliness, and social cohesion and (2) interactions between neighborhood characteristics and US region. Neighborhood characteristics were not associated with TL in whites. However, significant associations were found among Blacks with variation by region. Blacks living in less clean neighborhoods in the Northeast (b = −0.03, SE = 0.01, p < 0.05), Midwest (b = −0.04, SE = 0.01, p < 0.01), and South (b = −0.05, SE = 0.01, p < 0.01) as well as those reporting less neighborhood safety and social cohesion in the Midwest (b = −0.03, SE = 0.02, p < 0.05 and b = −0.03, SE = 0.01, p < 0.05) and South (b = −0.03, SE = 0.01, p < 0.05 for both characteristics) had shorter TL than Blacks in the West. Therefore, exposure to neighborhood level historical discrimination and neglect may be detrimental to TL in Blacks. Future research should further examine how neighborhoods contribute to aging disparities. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd

Short TitleHealth Place
Citation Key10514