A study of more than 100 million Americans in 3,123 counties found a correlation between cardiac death and their level of income. Getty Images
February 2, 2021 — A new study has found in the U.S. shows higher economic prosperity was associated with a small relative decrease in cardiovascular mortality among middle-aged adults. The study was published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Cardiovascular death rates over the last decade have stopped declining for non-elderly adults in the U.S. The factors driving these trends are poorly understood and may be related to underlying economic trends, given the strong association between cardiovascular disease and economic indicators such as income.
To assess a potential association between changes in economic prosperity and trends in cardiovascular mortality in middle-aged U.S. adults, researchers at Penn Medicine evaluated county-level mortality and economic data.
The researchers reviewed county-level mortality data from 3,123 U.S. counties from 2010 to 2017. Counties with the greatest improvement in economic prosperity had a decline in cardiovascular mortality for middle-aged adults, while counties that had the lowest increase or decrease in economic prosperity had no change in mortality rates. Every 10-point greater change in economic prosperity was significantly associated with a 0.4% lower cardiovascular mortality rate per year among middle-aged adults.
“We found that a relative increase in economic prosperity was significantly associated with a small but significant relative decrease in cardiovascular mortality among middle-aged adults,” said lead author Sameed Khatana, M.D., MPH, an instructor of cardiovascular medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Understanding how economic factors influence cardiovascular health is crucial for devising strategies to address and improve a community’s health.”
The study includes 102 million residents aged 40 to 64 years correlated to 979,228 cardiovascular deaths.
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1. Sameed Ahmed M. Khatana, Atheendar S. Venkataramani, Ashwin S. Nathan, et al. Association Between County-Level Change in Economic Prosperity and Change in Cardiovascular Mortality Among Middle-aged U.S. Adults. JAMA. 2021;325(5):445-453. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.26141.