Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 93, Issue 2, pp 279–291 | Cite as

Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status in Relation to Serum Biomarkers in the Black Women’s Health Study

  • Yvette C. CozierEmail author
  • Michelle A. Albert
  • Nelsy Castro-Webb
  • Patricia F. Coogan
  • Paul Ridker
  • Harvey W. Kaufman
  • Julie R. Palmer
  • Lynn Rosenberg


Lower neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with higher cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Black women have a higher CVD risk and are more likely to live in poor neighborhoods than white women. We examined the association of neighborhood SES with several CVD biomarkers using data from the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS), a follow-up study of US black women reporting high levels of education and income. Blood specimens of 418 BWHS participants were assayed for C-reactive protein (CRP), hemoglobin A1C (hgA1C), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. US Census block group data were linked to the women’s addresses to reflect neighborhood SES. Multivariable-adjusted mixed linear regression models that adjusted for person-level SES and for cardiovascular risk factors were used to assess CRP, hgA1C, and HDL levels in relation to quintiles of neighborhood SES. Women living in the poorest neighborhoods had the least favorable biomarker levels. As neighborhood SES increased, CRP decreased (P for trend = 0.01), hgA1C decreased (P for trend = 0.07), and HDL increased (P for trend = 0.19). These associations were present within strata of individual educational level. The present findings suggest that neighborhood environments may affect physiological processes within residents independently of individual SES.


Neighborhood socioeconomic status Serum biomarkers African-Americans Women 



All authors participated in concept, design, drafting of the manuscript, and critical review of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript. We thank the participants of the Black Women’s Health Study and the entire Black Women’s Health Study staff.

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was approved by the institutional review board of Boston University.

Financial disclosure

This work was supported by grants CA058420 and CA164974 from the National Cancer Institute.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yvette C. Cozier
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michelle A. Albert
    • 2
  • Nelsy Castro-Webb
    • 1
  • Patricia F. Coogan
    • 1
  • Paul Ridker
    • 3
  • Harvey W. Kaufman
    • 4
  • Julie R. Palmer
    • 1
  • Lynn Rosenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston UniversityBostonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Cardiovascular MedicineUniversity of California at San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women’s HospitalHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Office of Medical Affairs, Quest DiagnosticsMadisonUSA

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