Social determinants and the decline of cardiovascular diseases: understanding the links

Annu Rev Public Health. 2011;32:39-69. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031210-101234.


This article reviews the historical declines in cardiovascular mortality and provides an overview of the contribution of social and economic factors to disease change. We document the magnitude of declines in cardiovascular diseases and the major role of changes in conventional risk factors, and we review the contributions of social determinants to changes in disease rates. We conclude by arguing that understanding patterns and trends of social inequalities in cardiovascular disease and its risk factors requires consideration of the specific intersections of health and social exposures acting across the life course in different settings, in both time and place.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Psychology
  • Socioeconomic Factors