Social class differences in ischaemic heart disease in British men

Lancet. 1987 Jul 25;2(8552):197-201. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(87)90774-4.


To examine why ischaemic heart disease (IHD) mortality rates in Britain are higher in manual than in non-manual workers 7735 middle-aged men in the British Regional Heart Study were followed up for 6 years, during which time 336 men experienced a major IHD event (fatal or non-fatal myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac death). The prevalence rates of IHD at screening, were higher in manual workers. Also, the attack rate of major IHD events during follow-up was 44% higher in manual workers. Marked differences in cigarette smoking contributed substantially to the increased risk of IHD in manual workers, who also had higher levels of blood pressure, were more obese, and took much less physical activity in leisure time. Adjustment for differences in these risk factors narrowed the gap between manual and non-manual workers in attack rates of IHD. Since the risk of IHD in Great Britain is high in all social classes, there would seem to be little justification for any overall policy for prevention of IHD to focus on social class. However, anti-smoking strategies might well take into account the social class differences described.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations
  • Physical Exertion
  • Random Allocation
  • Risk
  • Smoking
  • Social Class*
  • United Kingdom


  • Cholesterol