Socioeconomic inequalities in the prevalence of nine established cardiovascular risk factors in a southern European population.
ABSTRACT: The evaluation of the gender-specific prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors across socioeconomic position (SEP) categories may unravel mechanisms involved in the development of coronary heart disease. Using a sample of 1704 community dwellers of a Portuguese urban center aged 40 years or older, assessed in 1999-2003, we quantified the age-standardized prevalence of nine established cardiovascular risk factors (diabetes mellitus, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, sedentariness, abdominal obesity, poor diet, excessive alcohol intake and depression) across SEP and gender categories. Data on individual education and occupation were collected by questionnaire and used to characterize SEP. The prevalence of seven out of nine well-established risk factors was higher in men. Among women, the prevalence of most of the studied risk factors was higher in lower SEP groups. The main exception was smoking, which increased with education and occupation levels. Among men, socioeconomic gradients were less clear, but lower SEP was associated with a higher prevalence of diabetes, excessive alcohol intake and depression in a graded mode. The historical cultural beliefs and practices captured throughout the lifecourse frame the wide socioeconomic gradients discernible in our study conducted in an unequal European developed population. While men were more exposed to most risk factors, the clearer associations between SEP and risk factors among women support that their adoption of particular healthy behaviors is more dependent on material and symbolic conditions. To fully address the issue of health inequalities, interventions within the health systems should be complemented with population-based policies specifically designed to reduce socioeconomic gradients.
Project description:Potential upstream determinants of coronary heart disease (CHD) include life-course socioeconomic position (e.g., childhood socioeconomic circumstances, own education and occupation); however, several plausible biological mechanisms by which socioeconomic position (SEP) may influence CHD are poorly understood. Several CHD risk factors appear to be more strongly associated with SEP in women than in men; little is known as to whether any CHD risk factors may be more strongly associated with SEP in men. Objectives were to evaluate whether cumulative life-course SEP is associated with a measurement of subclinical atherosclerosis, the ankle-brachial index (ABI), in men and women. This study was a prospective analysis of 1,454 participants from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort (mean age 57 years, 53.8% women). Cumulative SEP was calculated by summing tertile scores for father's education, own education, and own occupation. ABI was dichotomized as low (?1.1) and normal (>1.1 to 1.4). After adjustment for age and CHD risk factors cumulative life-course SEP was associated with low ABI in men (odds ratio [OR] 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.22 to 3.42, for low vs high cumulative SEP score) but not in women (OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.33). Associations with low ABI in men were substantially driven by their own education (OR 4.13, 95% CI 1.86 to 9.16, for lower vs higher than high school education). In conclusion, cumulative life-course SEP was associated with low ABI in men but not in women.
Project description:BACKGROUND:To throw light on the under-researched association between socioeconomic position (SEP) and health in Cuba, this study examined SEP gradients in health and their underlying mechanisms among urban Cuban adults aged 18-65. METHODS:By applying linear regressions to data from the 2010 National Survey on Risk Factors and Chronic Diseases, the analysis explored the SEP-health gradient along three SEP dimensions - education, occupation, and skin colour - using ten health measures: self-reported health (SRH), general and abdominal obesity, hypertension, high glucose, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and cumulative risk factors. Regressions also included behaviours and health-related risk perceptions (tobacco and alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, and risk-related behaviours). It thus investigated the SEP-health gradient and its underlying mechanisms via both behaviours and health-related risk perceptions. RESULTS:Once controlling for gender, age, marital status, region and provincial dummies, the analysis detected educational gradients in SRH (estimated coefficient [95% CI]: middle-level education?=?3.535 [1.329, 5.741], p?<?0.01; high-level education?=?5.249 [3.050, 7.448], p?<?0.01) that are partially explainable by both health-affecting behaviours (tobacco and alcohol consumption, diet, physical and sedentary activity) and risk perceptions. Using objective measures of health, however, it found no SEP-health gradients other than hypertension among people identified as having Black skin color (adjusted for demographic variables, 0.060 [0.018, 0.101], p?<?0.01) and high cholesterol among those identified as having Mulatto or Mestizo skin color (adjusted for demographic variables, -?0.066 [-?0.098, -?0.033], p?<?0.01). CONCLUSIONS:In terms of objective health measures, the study provides minimal evidence for an SEP-health gradient in Cuba, results primarily attributable to the country's universal healthcare system - which offers full coverage and access and affordable medications - and its highly developed education system.
Project description:Persistent infections, such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), and Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), are common in the U.S. but their prevalence varies by socioeconomic status. It is unclear if early or later life socioeconomic position (SEP) is a more salient driver of disparities in immune control of these infections. Using data from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging, we examined whether early or later life SEP was the strongest predictor of immune control later in life by contrasting two life course models, the critical period model and the chain of risk model. Early life SEP was measured as a latent variable, derived from parental education and occupation, and food availability. Indicators for SEP in later life included education level and occupation. Individuals were categorized by immune response to each pathogen (seronegative, low, medium and high) with increasing immune response representing poorer immune control. Cumulative immune response was estimated using a latent profile analysis with higher total immune response representing poorer immune control. Structural equation models were used to examine direct, indirect and total effects of early life SEP on each infection and cumulative immune response, controlling for age and gender. The direct effect of early life SEP on immune response was not statistically significant for the infections or cumulative immune response. Higher early life SEP was associated with lower immune response for T. gondii, H. pylori and cumulative immune response through pathways mediated by later life SEP. For CMV, higher early life SEP was both directly associated and partially mediated by later life SEP. No association was found between SEP and HSV-1. Findings from this study support a chain of risk model, whereby early life SEP acts through later life SEP to affect immune response to persistent infections in older age.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Studies on sex-specific socioeconomic gradients in objectively evaluated diabetes among older adults are scarce. METHODS:We used cross-sectional data of 9,893 adults aged 65 years and older in Aichi Prefecture without long-term care insurance from the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) in 2010 (Response rate: 66.3%). We collected demographic, socioeconomic (income, years of education, and longest occupation) and behavioral information using a mail-in self-reported survey. Blood samples for the objectively evaluated diabetes and self-reported medical history were collected at annual municipal health checkups. Poisson regression analysis stratified by sex with multiple imputations was conducted to calculate prevalence ratio and 95% confidence interval. RESULTS:A clear income gradient in diabetes prevalence was observed among women, from 11.7% in the lowest income quartile (Q1) to 7.8% in the highest (Q4). Among men, the findings were 17.6% in Q1 to 15.1% in Q4. The prevalence ratios for diabetes with incomes Q1 to Q4 were 1.43 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.07-1.90) for women and 1.16 (95% CI, 0.90-1.50) for men after adjusting for age and other socioeconomic factors. Even after adjusting for marital status, body mass index, other metabolic risk factors, and lifestyle factors, the income-based gradient remained among women. Education and occupation were not significantly associated with diabetes in the study population. CONCLUSIONS:Only women showed an income-based gradient in diabetes. Monitoring income gradient in diabetes is important in public health actions, even in older populations. Future longitudinal and intervention studies should evaluate the causal link of income to diabetes onset, determine the mechanisms of the potential sex differences in the income/diabetes association, and identify ways to mitigate the income-based inequality.
Project description:Disadvantaged socioeconomic position (SEP) is widely associated with disease and mortality, and there is no reason to think this will not be the case for the newly emerged coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that has reached a pandemic level. Individuals with a more disadvantaged SEP are more likely to be affected by most of the known risk factors of COVID-19. SEP has been previously established as a potential determinant of infectious diseases in general. We hypothesise that SEP plays an important role in the COVID-19 pandemic either directly or indirectly via occupation, living conditions, health-related behaviours, presence of comorbidities and immune functioning. However, the influence of socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 transmission, severity and outcomes is not yet known and is subject to scrutiny and investigation. Here we briefly review the extent to which SEP has been considered as one of the potential risk factors of COVID-19. From 29 eligible studies that reported the characteristics of patients with COVID-19 and their potential risk factors, only one study reported the occupational position of patients with mild or severe disease. This brief overview of the literature highlights that important socioeconomic characteristics are being overlooked when data are collected. As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, it is crucial to collect and report data on socioeconomic determinants as well as race/ethnicity to identify high-risk populations. A systematic recording of socioeconomic characteristics of patients with COVID-19 will be beneficial to identify most vulnerable groups, to identify how SEP relates to COVID-19 and to develop equitable public health prevention measures, guidelines and interventions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lower socioeconomic position (SEP) is associated with an increased risk of suicidal behaviour in high-income countries, but this association is unclear in low-income and middle-income countries. METHODS:We investigated the association of SEP with attempted suicide in a cross-sectional survey of 165?233 Sri Lankans. SEP data were collected at the household (assets, social standing (highest occupation of a household member), foreign employment and young (?40?years) female-headed households) and individual level (education and occupation). Respondent-reported data on suicide attempts in the past year were recorded. Random-effects logistic regression models, accounting for clustering, were used to investigate the association of SEP with attempted suicide. RESULTS:Households reported 398 attempted suicides in the preceding year (239 per 100?000). Fewer assets (OR 3.2, 95% CI 2.4 to 4.4) and having a daily wage labourer (ie, insecure/low-income job; OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.6 to 3.2) as the highest occupation increased the risk of an attempted suicide within households. At an individual level, daily wage labourers were at an increased risk of attempted suicide compared with farmers. The strongest associations were with low levels of education (OR 4.6, 95% CI 2.5 to 8.4), with a stronger association in men than women. CONCLUSIONS:We found that indicators of lower SEP are associated with increased risk of attempted suicide in rural Sri Lanka. Longitudinal studies with objective measures of suicide attempts are needed to confirm this association. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT01146496; Pre-results.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The mechanisms underlying socioeconomic inequalities in mortality from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are largely unknown. We studied the contribution of childhood socioeconomic conditions and adulthood risk factors to inequalities in CVD mortality in adulthood. METHODS: The prospective GLOBE study was carried out in the Netherlands, with baseline data from 1991, and linked with the cause of death register in 2007. At baseline, participants reported on adulthood socioeconomic position (SEP) (own educational level), childhood socioeconomic conditions (occupational level of respondent's father), and a broad range of adulthood risk factors (health behaviours, material circumstances, psychosocial factors). This present study is based on 5,395 men and 6,306 women, and the data were analysed using Cox regression models and hazard ratios (HR). RESULTS: A low adulthood SEP was associated with increased CVD mortality for men (HR 1.84; 95% CI: 1.41-2.39) and women (HR 1.80; 95%CI: 1.04-3.10). Those with poorer childhood socioeconomic conditions were more likely to die from CVD in adulthood, but this reached statistical significance only among men with the poorest childhood socioeconomic circumstances. About half of the investigated adulthood risk factors showed significant associations with CVD mortality among both men and women, namely renting a house, experiencing financial problems, smoking, physical activity and marital status. Alcohol consumption and BMI showed a U-shaped relationship with CVD mortality among women, with the risk being significantly greater for both abstainers and heavy drinkers, and among women who were underweight or obese. Among men, being single or divorced and using sleep/anxiety drugs increased the risk of CVD mortality. In explanatory models, the largest contributor to adulthood CVD inequalities were material conditions for men (42%; 95% CI: -73 to -20) and behavioural factors for women (55%; 95% CI: -191 to -28). Simultaneous adjustment for adulthood risk factors and childhood socioeconomic conditions attenuated the HR for the lowest adulthood SEP to 1.34 (95% CI: 0.99-1.82) for men and 1.19 (95% CI: 0.65-2.15) for women. CONCLUSIONS: Adulthood material, behavioural and psychosocial factors played a major role in the explanation of adulthood SEP inequalities in CVD mortality. Childhood socioeconomic circumstances made a modest contribution, mainly via their association with adulthood risk factors. Policies and interventions to reduce health inequalities are likely to be most effective when considering the influence of socioeconomic circumstances across the entire life course and in particular, poor material conditions and unhealthy behaviours in adulthood.
Project description:Cumulative exposure to socioeconomic disadvantage across the life course may be inversely associated with coronary heart disease (CHD); the mechanisms are not fully clear. An objective of this study was to determine whether cumulative life-course socioeconomic position (SEP) is associated with CHD incidence in a well-characterized US cohort that had directly assessed childhood and adulthood measures of SEP and prospectively measured CHD incidence. Furthermore, analyses aimed to evaluate whether adjustment for CHD risk factors reduces the association between cumulative life-course SEP and CHD. The authors examined 1,835 subjects who participated in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort from 1971 through 2003 (mean age, 35.0 years; 52.4% women). Childhood SEP was measured as father's education; adulthood SEP was assessed as own education and occupation. CHD incidence included myocardial infarction, coronary insufficiency, and coronary death. Cox proportional hazards analyses indicated that cumulative SEP was associated with incident CHD after adjustment for age and sex (hazard ratio = 1.82, 95% confidence interval: 1.17, 2.85 for low vs. high cumulative SEP score). Adjustment for CHD risk factors reduced that magnitude of association (hazard ratio = 1.29, 95% confidence interval: 0.78, 2.13). These findings underscore the potential importance of CHD prevention and treatment efforts for those whose backgrounds include low SEP throughout life.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:To develop a model to predict future socioeconomic inequalities in body mass index (BMI) and obesity. DESIGN:Microsimulation modelling using BMI data from adult participants of Australian Health Surveys, and published data on the relative risk of mortality in relation to BMI and socioeconomic position (SEP), based on education. SETTING:Australia. PARTICIPANTS:74 329 adults, aged 20 and over from Australian Health Surveys, 1995-2015. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:The primary outcomes were BMI trajectories and obesity prevalence by SEP for four birth cohorts, born 10 years apart, centred on 1940, 1950, 1960 and 1970. RESULTS:Simulations projected persistent or widening socioeconomic inequality in BMI and obesity over the adult life course, for all birth cohorts. Recent birth cohorts were predicted to have greater socioeconomic inequality by middle age, compared with earlier cohorts. For example, among men, there was no inequality in obesity prevalence at age 60 for the 1940 birth cohort (low SEP 25% (95% CI 17% to 34%); high SEP 26% (95% CI 19% to 34%)), yet for the 1970 birth cohort, obesity prevalence was projected to be 51% (95% CI 43% to 58%) and 41% (95% CI 36% to 46%) for the low and high SEP groups, respectively. Notably, for more recent birth cohorts, the model predicted the greatest socioeconomic inequality in severe obesity (BMI >35 kg/m2) at age 60. CONCLUSIONS:Lower SEP groups and more recent birth cohorts are at higher risk of obesity and severe obesity, and its consequences in middle age. Prevention efforts should focus on these vulnerable population groups in order to avoid future disparities in health outcomes. The model provides a framework for further research to investigate which interventions will be most effective in narrowing the gap in socioeconomic disparities in obesity in adulthood.
Project description:Although South Asians experience cardiovascular disease (CVD) and risk factors at an early age, the distribution of CVD risks across the socioeconomic spectrum remains unclear.We analysed the 2011 Centre for Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction in South Asia survey data including 16,288 non-pregnant adults (≥20 years) that are representative of Chennai and Delhi, India, and Karachi, Pakistan. Socioeconomic status (SES) was defined by highest education (primary schooling, high/secondary schooling, college graduate or greater); wealth tertiles (low, middle, high household assets) and occupation (not working outside home, semi/unskilled, skilled, white-collar work). We estimated age and sex-standardized prevalence of behavioural (daily fruit/vegetables; tobacco use), weight (body mass index; waist-to-height ratio) and metabolic risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia; hypo-HDL; and hypertriglyceridaemia) by each SES category.Across cities, 61.2% and 16.1% completed secondary and college educations, respectively; 52.8% reported not working, 22.9% were unskilled; 21.3% were skilled and 3.1% were white-collar workers. For behavioural risk factors, low fruit/vegetable intake, smoked and smokeless tobacco use were more prevalent in lowest education, wealthy and occupation (for men only) groups compared to higher SES counterparts, while weight-related risks (body mass index 25.0-29.9 and ≥30 kg/m(2); waist-to-height ratio ≥0.5) were more common in higher educated and wealthy groups, and technical/professional men. For metabolic risks, a higher prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidaemias was observed in more educated and affluent groups, with unclear patterns across occupation groups.SES-CVD patterns are heterogeneous, suggesting customized interventions for different SES groups may be warranted. Different behavioural, weight, and metabolic risk factor prevalence patterns across SES indicators may signal on-going epidemiological transition in South Asia.