UBC Theses and Dissertations
Traffic pollution and cardiovascular diseases in Greater Vancouver in association with socioeconomic status indicators Lencar, Cornel Calin
Cardiovascular diseases constitute a major health burden of modern societies. Besides eating habits, smoking or levels of physical activity, which are the most acknowledged risk factors, social determinants of health or air pollution constitute important risks in the development of cardiovascular diseases. Current knowledge about potential interactions between socioeconomic status and the effects of short- and long-term exposure to air pollution on mortality or morbidity due to cardiovascular diseases doesn’t offer substantive answers regarding the effect modification of various socio-economic factors on the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to air pollution. These interactions were analyzed using a cohort of 346,536 subjects over 45 years of age from Greater Vancouver Area, British Columbia. My study found significant evidence that even in areas with low levels of traffic pollution and even for healthy people, there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease morbidity or mortality associated with exposure to traffic pollution and road proximity, especially when considering socioeconomic variables at medium-scale (neighborhood) levels of aggregation. However, I found consistent results regarding the extent to which socioeconomic indicators modify the effect of traffic pollution on health on the expected trajectory (individuals from more advantaged areas would be less subjected to the effects of traffic pollution compared with individuals living in more disadvantaged areas). At dissemination area levels, in the case of exposure to particulate matter, subjects living in areas with a higher percentage of Chinese population were at a lower risk of CCS health outcomes. Subjects living in areas with a higher proportion of university degrees were also at a lower risk of experiencing CCS in conjunction with black carbon exposure. These results would need to be studied in conjunction with analyses at individual level data to confirm that these trends are real. Also, the results do not prove that socioeconomic covariates derived for smaller areas strengthen the association or show significance in respect with cardiovascular health outcomes and pollution, since higher levels of risk were found when using covariates at neighborhood levels of aggregation as oppose to those at dissemination area level.
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