TUESDAY, Oct. 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) — A healthier food environment is associated with a lower heart failure mortality rate, according to a study published online Oct. 25 in Circulation: Heart Failure.

Keerthi T. Gondi, M.D., from the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the contribution of food environment to heart failure mortality. Heart failure mortality rates and two county food environment indices (food insecurity percentage [FI%] and food environment index [FEI], which incorporates FI% and access to healthy food) were obtained.

In 2,956 included counties, the mean county FI% and FEI were 13 percent and 7.8, respectively. The researchers found that heart failure mortality rate was significantly higher for counties with FI% above versus below the national median (30.7 versus 26.7 per 100,000). Higher FI%, lower FEI, lower density of grocery stores, poorer access to stores among older adults, and lower Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation rates were seen for counties with heart failure mortality rates above the national median. After adjustment, lower county FI% and higher county FEI were significantly associated with a lower heart failure mortality rate. This association was stronger for heart failure mortality rate than for non-heart failure cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality rates. Counties with the highest income inequity and poverty rate had a stronger relationship between food environment and heart failure mortality rate.

“These findings reinforce the role of food environment and socioeconomic deprivation on cardiovascular outcomes,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the nutrition and pharmaceutical industries.

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