Residential proximity to major roadways and incident hypertension in post-menopausal women
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Living near major roadways has been associated with increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, presumably from exposure to elevated levels of traffic-related air and/or noise pollution. This association may potentially be mediated through increased risk of incident hypertension, but results from prior studies are equivocal. Using Cox proportional hazards models we examined residential proximity to major roadways and incident hypertension among 38,360 participants of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Clinical Trial cohorts free of hypertension at enrollment and followed for a median of 7.9 years. Adjusting for participant demographics and lifestyle, trial participation, and markers of individual and neighborhood socioeconomic status, the hazard ratios for incident hypertension were 1.13 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.28), 1.03 (0.95, 1.11), 1.05 (0.99, 1.11), and 1.05 (1.00, 1.10) for participants living =50, >50-200, >200-400, and >400-1000m vs >1000m from the nearest major roadway, respectively (ptrend=0.013). This association varied substantially by WHI study region with hazard ratios for women living =50m from a major roadway of 1.61 (1.18, 2.20) in the West, 1.51 (1.22, 1.87) in the Northeast, 0.89 (0.70, 1.14) in the South, and 0.94 (0.75, 1.19) in the Midwest. In this large, national cohort of post-menopausal women, residential proximity to major roadways was associated with incident hypertension in selected regions of the U.S. If causal, these results suggest residential proximity to major roadways, as a marker for air, noise and other traffic-related pollution, may be a risk factor for hypertension.
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