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Trends in Income Inequities in Cardiovascular Health Among US Adults, 1988-2018.

  • Brownell, Nicholas K
  • Ziaeian, Boback
  • Jackson, Nicholas J
  • Richards, Adam K
Publication Date
Apr 01, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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Mean cardiovascular health has improved over the past several decades in the United States, but it is unclear whether the benefit is shared equitably. This study examined 30-year trends in cardiovascular health using a suite of income equity metrics to provide a comprehensive picture of cardiovascular income equity. The study evaluated data from the 1988-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Survey groupings were stratified by poverty-to-income ratio (PIR) category, and the mean predicted 10-year risk of a major cardiovascular event or death based on the pooled cohort equations (PCE) was calculated (10-year PCE risk). Equity metrics including the relative and absolute concentration indices and the achievement index-metrics that assess both the prevalence and the distribution of a health measure across different socioeconomic categories-were calculated. A total of 26 633 participants aged 40 to 75 years were included (mean age, 53.0-55.5 years; women, 51.9%-53.0%). From 1988-1994 to 2015-2018, the mean 10-year PCE risk improved from 7.8% to 6.4% (P<0.05). The improvement was limited to the 2 highest income categories (10-year PCE risk for PIR 5: 7.7%-5.1%, P<0.05; PIR 3-4.99: 7.6%-6.1%, P<0.05). The 10-year PCE risk for the lowest income category (PIR <1) did not significantly change (8.1%-8.7%). In 1988-1994, the 10-year PCE risk for PIR <1 was 6% higher than PIR 5; by 2015-2018, this relative inequity increased to 70% (P<0.05). When using metrics that account for all income categories, the achievement index improved (8.0%-7.1%, P<0.05); however, the achievement index was consistently higher than the mean 10-year PCE risk, indicating the poor persistently had a greater share of adverse health. In this serial cross-sectional survey of US adults spanning 30 years, the population's mean 10-year PCE risk improved, but the improvement was not felt equally across the income spectrum.

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