July 20 | 2020

Healthcare Service Use for Mood and Anxiety Disorders Following Acute Myocardial Infarction: A Cohort Study of the Role of Neighbourhood Socioenvironmental Characteristics in a Largely Rural Population.

Ismael ForoughiNeeru Gupta Dan Lawson Crouse.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 9;17(14). pii: E4939. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17144939.


Depression and other mood and anxiety disorders are recognized as common complications following cardiac events. Some studies report poorer cardiac outcomes among patients in socioeconomically marginalized neighbourhoods. This study aimed to describe associations between socioeconomic and built environment characteristics of neighbourhood environments and mental health service contacts following an acute myocardial infarction (AMI or heart attack) among adults in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. This province is characterized largely by residents in small towns and rural areas. A cohort of all adults aged 45 and over surviving AMI and without a recent record of mental disorders was identified by linking provincial medical-administrative datasets. Residential histories were tracked over time to assign neighbourhood measures of marginalization, local climate zones, and physical activity friendliness (i.e., walkability). Cox models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the risk of healthcare use for mood and anxiety disorders over the period 2003/04-2015/16 by neighbourhood characteristics. The baseline cohort included 13,330 post-AMI patients, among whom 32.5% were found to have used healthcare services for a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder at least once during the period of observation. Among men, an increased risk of mental health service use was found among those living in areas characterized by high ethnic concentration (HR: 1.14 (95%CI: 1.03-1.25)). Among women, the risk was significantly higher among those in materially deprived neighbourhoods (HR: 1.16 (95%CI: 1.01-1.33)). We found no convincing evidence of associations between this outcome and the other neighbourhood characteristics considered here. These results suggest that selected features of neighbourhood environments may increase the burden on the healthcare system for mental health comorbidities among adults with cardiovascular disease. Further research is needed to understand the differing needs of socioeconomically marginalized populations to improve mental health outcomes following an acute cardiac event, specifically in the context of smaller and rural communities and of universal healthcare coverage.

July 6 | 2020

A scoping review on the relations between urban form and health: a focus on Canadian quantitative evidence.

McCormack GR, Cabaj J, Orpana H, Lukic R, Blackstaffe A, Goopy S, Hagel B, Keough N, Martinson R, Chapman J, Lee C, Tang J, Fabreau G.

Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 2019 May;39(5):187-200. doi: 10.24095/hpcdp.39.5.03.


Introduction: Despite the accumulating Canadian evidence regarding the relations between urban form and health behaviours, less is known about the associations between urban form and health conditions. Our study aim was to undertake a scoping review to synthesize evidence from quantitative studies that have investigated the relationship between built environment and chronic health conditions, self-reported health and quality of life, and injuries in the Canadian adult population. Methods: From January to March 2017, we searched 13 databases to identify peer-reviewed quantitative studies from all years that estimated associations between the objectively-measured built environment and health conditions in Canadian adults. Studies under-taken within urban settings only were included. Relevant studies were catalogued and synthesized in relation to their reported study and sample design, and health outcome and built environment features. Results: Fifty-five articles met the inclusion criteria, 52 of which were published after 2008. Most single province studies were undertaken in Ontario (n = 22), Quebec (n = 12), and Alberta (n = 7). Associations between the built environment features and 11 broad health outcomes emerged from the review, including injury (n = 19), weight status (n = 19), cardiovascular disease (n = 5), depression/anxiety (n = 5), diabetes (n = 5), mortality (n = 4), self-rated health (n = 2), chronic conditions (n = 2), metabolic condi-tions (n = 2), quality of life (n = 1), and cancer (n = 1). Consistent evidence for associations between aggregate built environment indicators (e.g., walkability) and diabetes and weight and between connectivity and route features (e.g., transportation route, trails, pathways, sidewalks, street pattern, intersections, route characteristics) and injury were found. Evidence for greenspace, parks and recreation features impacting multiple health outcomes was also found. Conclusion: Within the Canadian context, the built environment is associated with a range of chronic health conditions and injury in adults, but the evidence to date has limitations. More research on the built environment and health incorporating rigorous study designs are needed to provide stronger causal evidence to inform policy and practice.

Plain Language Summary

The most frequently reported associations among Canadian studies on urban form and health outcomes were related to injury and weight status. Not all provinces and territories were represented in this review, with much of the evidence coming from studies in Ontario, Quebec, and Alberta. Objectively-measured aggregate built environment indicators, connectivity and route features, destinations, food environment, population density, and greenspace, parks and recreation features are associated with a range of modifiable health conditions and injury. This scoping review identifies that more Canadian research, with rigorous designs that allow for causal inference, is required to inform policy and practice.