Researchers Assess Connection Between Socioeconomic Status, Cardiovascular Health


Heart disease prevention efforts should acknowledge non-biological factors that can cause issues within cardiovascular health rather than relying on decreasing socioeconomic disparities.

As socioeconomic status within education, income, employment states, and health insurance improves, researchers from the American Heart Association found in a recent study that these improvements benefit non-Hispanic white individuals more than Black Hispanic and Asian individuals in the US.1

Mature elderly woman feeling heart pain, touching chest with both hands. Thankful senior lady expressing gratitude, love, trust, thanking god, making grateful honor kindness gesture. Close up- Image credit: Fizkes |

Image credit: Fizkes |

“The goal of economic interventions and societal policies, such as improving employment, health care access and education, is that they will lead to improvements in health for everyone,” said Joshua J. Joseph, MD, MPH, FAHA, an associate professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus and senior study author, in a press release. “However, our study found that improvements in these socioeconomic interventions may not benefit people in all racial or ethnic groups equally.”

The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2011-2018), assessing 13,500 individuals’ data. The researchers used the American Heart Association’s Life’s Essential 8 metrics to measure socioeconomic status through ideal heart health across racial and ethnics groups in the US.1

The 8 metrics are eating better, being more active, quitting tobacco, getting healthy sleep, managing weight, controlling cholesterol, managing blood sugar, and managing blood pressure. The Life’s Essential 8 score has a 0-100 scale.1-2.

The results after assessing the data found that within all the individuals, those with a higher socioeconomic status had better heart health. The press release notes that the link was larger in white individuals compared to individuals of other races.1

The researchers used the Life’s Essential 8 metric scale to depict the point increases between racial and ethnic groups. Individuals who have a college education had a point increase within the ideal heart health score — white individuals had a 15-point increase score, Black and Hispanic individuals had a 10-point increase score, and Asian individuals had an 8-point increase score. A 13-point decline among white individuals was reported for Medicaid versus private insurance, compared to a 5- to 6-point decline for individuals in other race and ethnicity groups.1

The researchers believe that psychosocial stress brought on by racism, medical mistrust, and unequal access to care experienced by individuals in minority groups can cause cardiovascular health discriminations.1

However, more research will need to be conducted to find the cause and effect between individuals socioeconomic status based off the Life’s Essential 8 score.1

The findings suggest that heart disease prevention efforts should acknowledge non-biological factors that can cause issues within cardiovascular health rather than relying on decreasing socioeconomic disparities.


Socioeconomic status may be an uneven predictor of heart health. EurekAlert!. News release. September 13, 2023. Accessed September 13, 2023.

Life's Essential 8™. American Heart Association. Accessed September 13, 2023.

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